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Romeo and Cressida


By Jessica BaileyPublished 5 years ago 3 min read

Carole and Gordon, Long time fans of Auden,

Lived in Idolatry, philanthropy and books,

Teenagers from opposing schools

Both alike in dignity

Found their home, their lives, their dreams in misanthropy

They met as Troilus and Cressida

The dingy school gym transformed

They emulated their ancient peers

And taught the fate that would befall them

They lived, they loved, they fought

They lived like others before them,

They lived like they might die tomorrow

They lived well before the boredom

The vacuum, the wireless, the car seat

Each day no poems would come

For alas there was so much to do in the home,

Look after the little one

He wrote, he toiled, pulled out his hair

Pack after pack up in smoke

The little one downstairs with her mother

Aware that something had broke

And so a move to the heart of academia

Next to fields, green and fresh

There was much to recommend them to their new vocations

Not least of all the call of young flesh

The cliché, it stung in its casual simplicity

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth

But Carole she couldn’t let go

Of what even she found uncouth

Transpired before my arrival

There was no revival

My uncle, yes, sure, call him that

I met him a number of two times

Before cancer called and that was that.

I didn’t attend the service, after all I barely knew him at all

I only knew that I suspected; he was the reason my aunt had put up a wall

To keep out miscreants and juvenile delinquents

They wriggled in, of course

He lives in the shelves, of the poetry library by the river

We visited after she had gone

They had stuff to recommend them, that slim sliver of words

But they were not what I wished I had saw

– found on the hard drive

Whispers, echoes, of a hard life

Hard won; hard lost

Half-formed, all rust

And it taught me a lesson

Fall hard, give all, that’s a form of it

Like blackjack, you can lose all of it

Put your trust in a man who writes

Who, really writes, I mean

The ones who stay in all evening

Hashing out what they mean

She taught me to trust that my thoughts had purpose

That they had importance, to shirk this

Would be an error,

Work hard, toil often

Wish hard, don’t soften

Your dreams for a man, no matter how passionate

The love feels; you could be less then accurate

In your return, the rate of interest

Depending on whom he rates, emotionally celibate

I’m a student of words and how they link phrases

To create joy, to create truth, to show what malaise is

To cover the basics, the words like mayonnaise

But I can’t help but feel some days

He was the Hughes to her Plath

And that, after all that

They were never meant to be

Carole and Gordon were big fans of Auden

Both Alike in Dignity.

love poems

About the Creator

Jessica Bailey

I am a freelance writer, playwright, director and lecturer from London. Self professed nerd, art lover and Neurodivergent, vegan since '16, piano player since 7 - let's see...oh and music, lots and lots of music

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