My Ed

Written for:  dVerse Poets Pub-Poetical Spouses  (posted by Kim)
The challenge for this week’s Poetics is to take a character, fictional or non-fictional, and re-write their story from the point of view of their husband or wife.

“Dame Carol Ann Duffy DBE FRSL is one of my favourite modern poets. She is Professor of Contemporary Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University and has been Britain’s Poet Laureate since May 2009, the first woman, first Scot, and first openly LGBT person to hold the position.

One of her collections of poetry, The World’s Wife, takes characters, stories, histories and myths that focus on men and presents them from the point of view of the women behind the men, with themes such as sexism, equality, bereavement and birth. From Mrs Midas to Queen Kong, from Elvis’s twin sister to Pygmalion’s bride, she has turned well-known stories on their heads”.

Anne Hathaway by Carol Ann Duffy
‘Item I gyve unto my wief my second best bed…’
(from Shakespeare’s will)

The bed we loved in was a spinning world
of forests, castles, torchlight, cliff-tops, seas
where he would dive for pearls. My lover’s words
were shooting stars which fell to earth as kisses
on these lips; my body now a softer rhyme
to his, now echo, assonance; his touch
a verb dancing in the centre of a noun.
Some nights I dreamed he’d written me, the bed
a page beneath his writer’s hands. Romance
and drama played by touch, by scent, by taste.
In the other bed, the best, our guests dozed on,
dribbling their prose. My living laughing love –
I hold him in the casket of my widow’s head
as he held me upon that next best bed.

Here is my attempt:

Written by Virginia Poe

I was haunted by nightmares
of his lost Lenore, and that
misbehaving raven running
rampant across my bureau.
But, I digress. Untidy,
critical, and sharp-tongued
though he was, Edgar did not
come close to his contemporaries
in the art of alcohol consumption.
Yes, I know what they said
about him. My Ed was sweet,
troubled, sought only love
and warmth.

At fourteen years of age,
I was a mature young woman
who knew her own mind. Unkind
people whispered about my age,
and the fact that I was his cousin.
Odd it was, to see my Ed as a writer
of macabre tales and poems. Edgar
was quite the opposite. We had fun
together. He loved to run after me,
and tickle my feet. Those elite snobs
did not even know that he was a superb
chef. Well, I am haunted no longer,
for my life ended before his.
Of this I am glad.

About purplepeninportland

I am a freelance poet, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I live with my husband, John, and two charming rescue dogs–Marion Miller and Murphy. We spent eight lovely years in Portland, OR, but are now back in New York. My goal is to create and share poetry with others who write, or simply enjoy reading poetry. I hope to touch a nerve in you, and feel your sparks as well.
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9 Responses to My Ed

  1. kim881 says:

    In the pictures I have seen of Poe, he always looks so austere, so it tickled me to think of him tickling her feet and cooking! I like the way she comes across in the first stanza as quite prim and Victorian, and then that fourteen year old girl shines through in the second stanza, more playful and a little defiant. Love this!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think this is great… actually one of the reason (I have heard) that we wrote the kind of literature he did, was not because he wanted it, but because they needed the money… he saw it more as craft than art it’s said.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lillian says:

    I learned a lot about Edgar Allen Poe here — the voice comes through well. She is quite defiant of her critics and revealing of her lover. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. kanzensakura says:

    I too adored this. Poe lived in Richmond for a bit and was quite the gentleman. I have been fascinated by him since I was 11. I love the 14 year old girl in this. And I love the info in this. And an accomplished chef and foot tickler extrordinarre.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Grace says:

    I really like how you wrote a lighter side of Poe, and being a chef and having fun together.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. says:

    I love it


  7. The private lives of gothic writers! Sounds like they had fun together! A great voice to capture.

    Liked by 1 person

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