Saturday, January 5, 2019

Conversation: Richard III (Act III, Scene 7)

Last Saturday I asked RIII readers to draft a poem, in your own voice and idiom, in response to a trigger in scene 7.  Please feel free to post it here for all of us to read. But if you feel shy about that, you might prefer to email your draft to me and we can talk about it privately. I know that sharing poems can be hard.

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Beginning on Monday, I'm going to be teaching an intense 8-week online essay revision class. In addition, I'll be working on an editing project and, by the end of the month, beginning a school residency in southern Maine. I still intend to keep going with our Richard III reading group, but my time will certainly be compressed. To preserve some space for quiet, I'll no longer be posting my own draft poems, reaction essays, etc., in response to our RIII assignments, though I'll continue to comment on yours and to participate in conversations. Thanks for your understanding as I press forward into this marathon schedule.


Carlene M Gadapee said...

One Citizen Speaks

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). How now, my lord, what say the citizens?
Duke of Buckingham. Now, by the holy mother of our Lord,
The citizens are mum and speak not a word. (3.7)

These mummers, this mawkish, profligate troop of liars and cheats and
dumb-show puppets lead us on, always towards destruction. Enough.
I cannot swallow this knot of rage that chokes off air and constricts
my voice. I must speak, even if it’s through clenched teeth, a poisoned
whisper to fouled air. Water. Earth. Spirit. Mind. Body. My body,
our bodies, the body collective, all betrayed while greed is paid in silver
coins. Count them. Thirty. The hand-picked representatives that itch
and twitch to support this artifice, this edifice to ego, clap and hoot and
foment facile outrage; they fill the seats set for them. Their job is easy
enough, only costing their souls. But to tear the curtain back, to expose
the fraud is never a thanks-filled act. What to do? I spit angry words
that fall into dark spaces; they are too heavy to rise.

Ruth said...

Lend favorable ear to our requests,
And pardon us the interruption

When fear and evil intrudes without warning.

The span is not long,
tourists and suicides line the sidewalks
peering over the railing
to the unseeable chasm floor.
I've driven it multiple times
in all weather,
always *on the way*
to somewhere else.

This conference is
but 2 miles away,
Early, as I often am so
as not to be very late,
on this sunny, warm, cloudless day,
I join happy, laughing families on the
wide fenced-in trail plunging under the bridge
to the bottom.

A sudden overwhelming feeling makes me look up through the trusses and girders
to the sign


My skin prickles, my breathe quickening,
there is dread
there is evil
I cannot get back up that trail fast enough
I cannot explain
I cannot cross that bridge again

and don't for years

The Quechee Gorge Bridge is located on US 4, roughly midway between Woodstock and White River Junction, Vermont. It is set high above the Ottauquechee River near the southern end of Quechee Gorge, a major local tourist attraction that is part of Quechee State Park. It is a three-span steel deck truss structure, 285 feet (87 m) long, 41 feet (12 m) wide, and 163 feet (50 m) high carrying two lanes of traffic (one in each direction) and sidewalks on both sides. Its main span is a parabolic spandrel-braced Pratt truss, forming a span of 188 feet (57 m). The arch is mounted on concrete footings, which are located near the stone abutments of the previous bridge. The bridge structure is built out of a series of panels and other steel elements, joined by rivets, and its deck consists of I-beam stringers covered by a concrete base.[2]

Ruth said...

sorry just noticed.....typos and ...........

David (n of 49) said...

adorno was right about the guilt of art but we are
human and compelled despite futility and guilt and so
you could start with augustine and his
pears and walk up through the nearly two
millennia since and its crowd of horrors that
goya got down finally in los desastres de la guerra
disasters of war and so into europe where they
refined evil to a nicety in places like the
congo practice run for the real event
murder on a scale no one ever foresaw except
some who mostly didn’t survive anyway but
stalin said one death is a tragedy a thousand a
cold number and the murderous bastard was
right you still wouldn’t grasp the reality it is the
single acts the innocents that get you tear at your
mind make you want to claw your face if your eye
offend thee pluck it out but it is the mind’s eye you can’t
pluck so it is that night the news said four boys
teenagers in a small prairie town broke into a
house the owners were away grabbed the kitten and
frightened and confused in that tiny cramped space it
must have seen in those final moments through the
window of the microwave and not understanding the
finger of one of them reaching to press start

Carlene M Gadapee said...

o my God, David.

I can't breathe.


Dawn Potter said...

David, the way in which you suck us straight into that kitten's soul is stunning. This is an outstanding draft, truly. Carlene, I'm so intrigued by the way in which your language wrestles against Shakespeare's . . . as if you are fighting for independence yet be pulled into the maelstrom of his syntax. It's such an interesting argument, even beyond the subject of the poem: escaping the net of language, giving in to the net of language. Ruth, I have driven over that gorge a number of times, and it is terrifying. I love how you borrow the sense physical fear and morph it into fear of evil. That is subtle work.