Danse Macabre

April 20, 2012
Custom User Avatar
More by this author
Only then,
When he held the dead girl in his arms
(Swollen with river water, yet so fragile
Her skin seeming to tear like paper under his
Brisk hands, and he so afraid of dying,
So afraid of the dead that he did not dare even
To smother her rouged cheeks in mad kisses
And her name stopped dead at the backs of his teeth),
Only then was he
Consumed with a terror of living and dying both, a terror like fighting,
Consumed with a terror of the water in the river and
The flowers in the grave, of the dirt that formed
Immobile cliffs around him, unforgiving and crushing him
Into dust, and a terror of the dust, and a terror of his own
Skin and the way he could feel it wrinkling, his own hair
Graying and whitening, and her closed eyes and her parted
Lips and the way time was no longer hers

When the hands closed at his throat then it felt
As though forty thousand brothers with their red-rimmed
Envious eyes had become hell-bent on pounding him
Faster and
Further into the dust.

Join the Discussion

This article has 8 comments. Post your own now!

Juliana H. said...
Aug. 14, 2012 at 12:41 am
I'll be thinking about this poem all night.  It's so thought-provoking.  If you're interested in Ophelia, you should look up characters such as Drusilla from Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel, Winifred Burkle from Angel, and River Tam from Firefly/Serenity.  There are some differences though; Drusilla is evil, Fred recovers from her madness, and River not so helpless.
StrangeJade This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 14, 2012 at 6:48 pm
Cool! Thanks for the recommendations. :) (Although I would argue that Ophelia is not as helpless as most read her to be....but that is a rant for another time. >.>)
Juliana H. replied...
Aug. 15, 2012 at 6:28 pm
I would love to hear your rant!  Though I originally viewed Ophelia as an independent young woman of her times, my admiration for her turned to sympathy when she drowned.  Though some readers say that she killed herself, I belief that Shakespeare only implanted that suggestion to make her tragedy even more unjust.  (Gertrude explained that it was an accident, but then the cleric said that she killed herself.)  If you ever feel the urge to write an essay about Ophelia, however... (more »)
StrangeJade This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm
Thank you! :) Well, the thing is, Ophelia is often read as helpless, even half-witted. However, usually this is accompanied by a reading of Hamlet as really, honestly cruel and unloving towards her, and I just don't agree with either. I believe that Hamlet did love Ophelia, deeply so – he's not stupid, remember. During the famous nunnery scene, he knows that he and Ophelia are being watched, and also that, if he shows his love for her, Polonius will separate them. It's a Ca... (more »)
JulianaLee replied...
Aug. 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm
Thank you so much!  I am entirely in agreement with your theory.  I'd never thought about Hamlet personal feelings so deeply.  My opinion is that when Ophelia is mad, she is unable to help herself.  River Tam, on the other hand, can take care of herself when she's insane.  By that I mean calculating bullet trajectories to shoot people with her eyes closed.  I think that I might be giving too much away.
AgentOrange789 said...
Apr. 28, 2012 at 2:11 pm

This is incredibly dramatic. Even without reading that it was about Orphelia, I was able to feel the sense of desperation. I also like how each thought seems to last forever...I don't really know how else to describe it. :)


beautifulspirit This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 24, 2012 at 9:57 am
Reading this, I was hoping that it was inspired by Ophelia. I'm so glad that I was right! This piece held such imagery and flow!
StrangeJade This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 24, 2012 at 6:15 pm
Thank you! ^^ Yep, I...kind of went on a Hamlet writing frenzy recently. I'm glad you can tell that that's what this is about; I wasn't sure if it was obvious enough. :P
Site Feedback