Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Monster's Love (Poem)

A Monster's Love

And the cathedral was not only company for him,
it was the universe; nay, more, it was Nature itself. . . .

Abandoned in a switch, you to gargoyles
come consigned the Sunday after Easter

a babe half-eyeing the world
from a foundlings' bed

tucked in before a Gothic arch of doors
on steps' foundation stone fixed cold.

Frollo taking you up in his arms bestows no kiss
of faith on your wart-fogged sight

your tetrahedron nose or horseshoe-shaped mouth
with its tooth like an elephant tusk

nor blessing on your spine so humped and hunched
your heart must hide forever in his Notre Dame.

You the archdeacon in his punning names Quasimodo
almost the standard measure

a man not in day or night entire.

Your hand Dom Frollo sets on bourdon bell, so strong
your strike chimeras wake but you hear not

the recall in your Paris lair, its naves embellished
playgrounds for the one reviled, the other murder-plotting.

Bare-footed Esmeralda, bewitched the dour Frollo craves,
and you his quiet bidding do. Criminal crowds denounce you,

Pope of Fools, and caught and whipped as ordered lie,
the heat and thirst conspiring. Yet you the gypsy beauty

saves yet eyes she makes to Phoebus go and Frollo
in his jealous rage tries murder for his story's end.

The gypsy framed and ordered hanged, the tables turn
and she in arms you carry high, no king's commands to reach.

But loyalty betrayed and sanctuary denied, you rush to ground
the priest too late. Her dancer's body from the gallows swings.

Atop Mount Faucon dumped, neck broken, she's found years after
in your locked embrace, her monster's humble pot of love reneged

no second time for a cracked crystal vase
of dry and withered flowers.

© 2010 Maureen E. Doallas. All Rights Reserved.


Illustrations: 1831, from First Edition of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Notre-Dame de Paris)

Epigraph: Victor Hugo, Notre Dame de Paris, 1831

Want to try your hand at writing a poem about or from the viewpoint of some kind of monster? Anything goes. Go here for the challenge and then drop your link here by Thursday, April 29.


Sam Liu said...

Oh this was such an enticing read, suffused with mystery and darkness, it took me right back to my visit to Notre Dame. A wonderful poem.

Paul C said...

You evoke the medieval charm complete with gargoyles and the supernatural.

Anonymous said...

it sounds like it could have been written many many years ago.

Kathleen Overby said...

Yes, the complex structure and muscled words take some chewing. You definitely don't give us brain cotton candy! Exercise accomplished every visit.
This is such a timeless story. In the Anthony Hopkins movie, when he tells Esmerelda he sees how ugly he really is compared with her beauty - I weep. I'm shamefaced to say I've never read the original. This must be a good companion to it.

Anonymous said...

How do you churn out these prose that lift us to an alternate reality? Really, Maureen - you are gifted.

The pictures offer a nice period touch, too!

Heather said...

Oh, fun. I want to play. I waited too late last time. This time, I will remember.

Ami Mattison said...

Fantastic, Maureen. And fun! You offer some great images and the suspense is wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

S. Etole said...

chills here ...

Jenne' R. Andrews said...

This is epic and breathtaking. It makes me think of someone sitting at the organ in the cathedral who has complete command of the instrument. You have the myth and the story in hand, the form, the language that informs form and mastery of the nuances of meaning. Your vision is diverse and fascinating; you keep us guessing about what you'll do next. I like the idea of this challenge, having just written of myself yet again on my blog as a lioness who would turn back into a human if she could...xj

L.L. Barkat said...

Too good. Where could I even begin?

You make me jealous with your amazing language. :)

Anonymous said...

Every time I read one of your poems I despair of ever writing real poetry-- and I feel inspired to try anyway. This is amazing.

Unknown said...

your words evoke the same feelings that well up inside of me whenever i find myself outside of a very large, imposing cathedral.

you have a gift with words maureen.