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The Duchess
In a world where everyone follows one road, I made my own path. I guess you could say I am happily: Lost; Adj. having gone ...

Poems

Avery Glows Dec 2018
Disclaimer: I did this as a creative rewrite for one of my university lit courses, and all the inspiration and quotes belong to Robert Browning the original writer of "My Last Duchess"

HIS LAST DUCHESS
ARRIVEDERCI
“That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive.”
(I’m not)
Alas! Me, “a wonder.” He calls.
Now wretchedly refined and pasteurized.
To be consumed, now, for genteel eyes.
Pity! Should you ever see me roll mine.
Behind those curtains, you might have been surprised
To see my countenance whimpering
At you Sir; and seething, at Him.
Must you not be fooled by that sickly decorum
Upon which his manly pride resides.
The Duke—what rich talent in envy he has,
And of pithy idiosyncrasies! Pardon me now
As I speak of his infamies: Is it not,
Too preposterous of a Duke, to sulk
And take offense, over a blush?
(As if the blush was his to wield and shun.)
Am I not allowed to flush at all?
And must I be ashamed of being swooned
By the casual offers of life’s grandiosities?
Each and every, dropping of the daylight,
Ripen cherries in May and chivalrous gentlemen,
my dear white mule; must I then weep
at them all, only to prove my fancy for him.
And when does gracious gratitude itself
become in vain: a finite honour—
deemed excessive elsewhere?
Never had he plucked me out, for censure,
Before he gave commands, I knew he did
To pluck the smile out of my face.
Utterly clueless—he thought I was
To find myself throttled, for immodesty.
A wife, an appendage to a Duke,
Loosely felled, to stroke a green-eyed ego.
My fault it seems, is a mere generosity
Of affection: falsely opined, if not
Misread, to fare a defect of temperament,
A chronic malady, doth be cured by death.
To cement the farce he will, soon, bring you
Downstairs to meet a friend. (a fiend)
A prized possession: Neptune, taming a sea-horse.
His hubris incarnate, cast in bronze.
But you must know the truth, for the sea-horse
Did not perish for naught, she is freed from him
At last.
Oct, 2018
That’s my last duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive. I call
That piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf’s hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
Will’t please you sit and look at her? I said
“Frà Pandolf” by design, for never read
Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
The depth and passion of its earnest glance,
But to myself they turned (since none puts by
The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)
And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,
How such a glance came there; so, not the first
Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, ’twas not
Her husband’s presence only, called that spot
Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek: perhaps
Frà Pandolf chanced to say “Her mantle laps
“Over my lady’s wrist too much,” or “Paint
“Must never hope to reproduce the faint
“Half-flush that dies along her throat”: such stuff
Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough
For calling up that spot of joy. She had
A heart—how shall I say?—too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed; she liked whate’er
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
Sir, ’twas all one! My favor at her breast,
The dropping of the daylight in the West,
The bough of cherries some officious fool
Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule
She rode with round the terrace—all and each
Would draw from her alike the approving speech,
Or blush, at least. She thanked men—good! but thanked
Somehow—I know not how—as if she ranked
My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
With anybody’s gift. Who’d stoop to blame
This sort of trifling? Even had you skill
In speech—which I have not—to make your will
Quite clear to such an one, and say, “Just this
“Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,
“Or there exceed the mark”—and if she let
Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set
Her wits to yours, forsooth, and make excuse,
—E’en then would be some stooping; and I choose
Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt,
Whene’er I passed her; but who passed without
Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;
Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands
As if alive. Will’t please you rise? We’ll meet
The company below, then. I repeat,
The Count your master’s known munificence
Is ample warrant that no just pretense
Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
Though his fair daughter’s self, as I avowed
At starting, is my object. Nay we’ll go
Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,
Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!