This has not been a wonder of all worlds,
Miranda said, and she should know,
men arrived and left as she did herself,
fleeing. Rooms in the sky emptied,
who was she to believe? A day pulled up
the night like tar, or did it simply melt?
Simply? Don’t you know what in hell tar is?
Are there no rules to follow? What of time?
Weather snaked the planet like a round tree.
What kind of image is that, Miranda?
Don’t you know the music to go with it?
So many years alone, so why not sleep?
Prospero was dead. So was Ariel.
And their maker had given up the ghost
of Hamlet’s father, felled the tree of life
to mark his own grave with the Shakespeare name.
All my friends are long dead, Miranda said,
why do I live on? There’s neither heaven
nor hell. I know no words to sap my strength.
And what of Caliban? What do I do
with a poor man in a cage? Feed him what?
Let him eat grass. I have my own supply
of space where the larder was. I can’t live
two lives, he will have to die like he is.
So she hopes. The island is its own cage.
A wind comes in, tall trees shape themselves round.
Miranda writes her way out of the play.
At least she tries. Nothing avails. The breath
of eternity broods over the world.
How far can you see? . . . Caliban breaks out.
More aristocrats invade. Prospero
returns as a ghost seeking Ariel.
Their maker turns in his grave to dust.
(24 May 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander