I didn’t realise it was NaPoWriMo!! Strangely enough it wasn’t mentioned on my Creative Writing course…
Well, here’s a poem I wrote for Coursework last year, as a response to Robert Browning’s My Last Duchess, where we had to keep the rhyming words at the end of the lines the same as the original poem. Not as easy as it looks!
There’s my fair duchess captured on the wall,
As beautiful here as in life – I recall
The piano whites tickled by her elegant hands.
She finishes playing and then she stands.
“Miss, will’t please you play once more?” I said.
She obliged and attended me while I read.
And each day upon seeing her glowing countenance,
I longed more for the passion of her emerald glance.
Though lovely as that smile had been, by
law the property of my brother. And I
Admired from afar, speaking when I durst
and choosing the path of betrayal, but at first
she declined my affections, said it was not
a safe topic, or an appropriate spot
to talk – afraid of my brother perhaps?
The duke who sits in luxury’s lap –
Who throws away money, saying, “paint
my dear duchess ere her beauty grows faint.”
The man who owns such fanciful stuff –
which I’m afraid is never enough:
for the greatest jewel he already had.
Suffice to say my heart was glad
when she agreed to my proposal with, “whate’er
the consequence, I’d follow you anywhere.”
Sir, how happy was I! My favour at her breast.
I waited ’til the sun set in the West
before riding out on my servant’s mule –
“To town I go,” I managed to fool
my brother. I rode with her – each
moment falling for her more. Her eloquent speech
beguiled me. For the bough of cherries she thanked
profusely – such a small gift had ranked
higher than my brother’s marriage; the gift of our name.
It had been forced on her, so who could blame
her lack of love and marital skill
when marriage was against her will?
My brother knew we met like this –
The small details went not amiss.
He pieced it together, then let
us meet under false pretences he had set.
I tried to deny, make some excuse
but in the end he made me choose.
I smiled at him. I had no doubt
of my decision. “Her I cannot live without.”
“This presumption must be tested.” He gives commands
and by the hanging rope she solemnly stands.
She smiles at me and say, “I hope we shall meet
again. Know I am happy not to repeat
the same shallow pretence
of love and false munificence.”
I was pained to watch, but disallowed
to leave. I watched my love die and I avowed
to avenge her. But ere I go,
I stand before her painting. And though
the unveiling of her face is a rarity,
those concealed eyes still show love for me.