Ophelia in Kitakyushu ~ A poem by Richard Manly Heiman

Ophelia in Kitakyushu

You loved green May
sprigs and branches,
snatched forget-me-nots
and billowing tufts of
maidenhair. Your pale
cheeks puffed out, you
tangled up in violets,
a saint with bloodless lips,
two pilgrims still heart-
pink as kiku florets.

And ghost-eyed children
shriven in maelstroms
recalled fire-blossoms
and a gale of sifting
ashes, and adored you.
Then they reverenced
you, drowned sparrow,
like a fair jeweled city
buried in riverine mud
where frail candle-boats
caress the water’s surface.

Richard Manly Heiman

In preparing for the 2008 exhibition of Millais’ paintings in Japan, it was decided not to use his Ophelia in advertising the exhibition, for fear that it might incite impressionable young Japanese girls to suicide.

Richard Manly Heiman lives in the pines of the Sierra Nevada. He works as an English teacher and writes when the kids are at recess. Richard has been published by Rattle, Into the Void, Spiritus (Johns Hopkins U.), and elsewhere. He is a Pushcart also-ran and his URL is poetrick.com. He tweets @poetrmh

Photo credit @domenika at http://www.unsplash.com

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