The Ophelia of Deep River

Ophelia, made mad by the murder  of her father,
Took to  singing snatches of song; before long she
Was weaving garlands of flowers and  weeds, climbing
A willow along a river in Elsinore to hang them there.

Among the flowers were long  purples, orchis mascula,
Also known as dead men’s fingers, or  among the vulgar,
something far grosser; a too-strong  attraction to a father,
perhaps, was reflected in that choice.

You went down to the water with  a purpose, unlike Ophelia,
who fell into the water when a  branch broke. She
floated, unaware of her peril, her clothes holding
Her up as she sang, suspended, until at  last she sank.

I think you heard overtones of  your own as alone,
You wandered the banks of Deep River; a father who made
Piano keys, whom you loved too much and  blamed at the same time,
since he was taken from you not by

another’s hand, but by his own  choosing.
Where Ophelia  fell, you leapt.

4 thoughts on “The Ophelia of Deep River

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