Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dorian Gray Revisited

Dorian Gray Revisited

Scene One

A green unripe time—a time of shallow moods
And sickly thoughts—why so young for so long?

Youth had spoiled him—his life stained obscenely
With beauty that wasn’t his—only a face-lift?

His youth but a mockery—was it worth it?
It was his beauty—that had ruined him

His beauty and the youth—that he had prayed for
“The curves of your lips—rewrite history"

Such phrases came back—to him again & again
He repeated them over—and over to himself

Then he began loathing them—his own beauty
Frozen like a male Medusa—in a polished shield

Once some one who—had terribly loved him
Wrote to him a mad letter—ending with these

Idolatrous words—"The world is changed
Because you are—made of ivory and gold”

He remembered—that night of horror when
He first stared—at the unfathomable change

In the fatal picture—the wild, ogling eyes
Looking back at him—as he really was

The curiously carved mirror—of Lord Henry
Standing on the table—white-limbed Cupids

Laughing at him—demonically not angelically
He flung the mirror—smashing it on the floor

Crushing it into silver splinters—beneath his heel
But something in the attic—was waiting for him

Scene Two

Daily suicide—had been his own act
He had chosen to do it—it meant nothing to him

To him it was unbearable—to even think about it
And yet he had borne—the curse with patience

Basil had painted—the portrait that marred his life
He could not forgive him that—a portrait of death

His murder had been only—momentary madness
Basil Hallward—had simply got in the way

Basil had said things—simply ruined everything
Nor indeed did his death—weigh on his mind

It was the living death—of his own soul
That’s what troubled him—forcing him to know

The excitement—such as it was over
Basil’s disappearance—would soon pass

It was already waning—perfectly safe
James Vane was hidden—in a nameless grave

There in Selby churchyard—Alan Campbell
Had shot himself—one night in his laboratory

Nothing revealed the secrets—of the past
Nothing could alter that—or himself

And there was—his own future
To think about—the eternal present

Scene Three

Dragging the purple hanging—from the portrait
Crying out in pain & indignation—seeing himself

Seeing no change—except in the eyes
There was a look of cunning—and cruelty

And in the mouth—the curved wrinkle
The smirk of a hypocrite—a snarky queen

The thing was loathsome—even more so
It seemed brighter—more newly-spilled blood

Dorian trembled—it wasn’t merely vanity
What had made him—do this horrible deed?

A desire for a new sensation—how naïve
Lord Henry hinting—with his mocking laugh?

Or was it passion—to act too suddenly
He went out quietly—locking the door behind him

And why the red stain—getting larger than before?
Creeping like a horrible disease—over the hands?

Those wrinkled fingers—they surely weren’t his
And the blood on—the painted feet as though…

As though blood had dripped—from a knife
What could be more loathsome—than that?

A scarlet smear—splattering the feet of death?
He laughed—thinking the idea monstrous

Besides even if he’d confess—who’d believe him?
There wasn’t any trace—of murdered men anywhere

Everything belonging to them—destroyed
He’d burned—everything beneath the stairs

The world makes us—do weird things
What could be weirder—than ourselves?

Or, perhaps—if he persisted in some story
Yet it wasn’t his duty to confess—to suffer

Public shame—needed public atonement
There were sins on earth—as well as heaven

Nothing he could do—would cleanse it
So why confess—on somebody’s shoulders?

The death of Basil Hallward—meant little to him
Was this unjust portrait—the mirror of his soul?

Was that what Dorian—was looking at?
His own Vanity? His own Curiosity? Hypocrisy?

Was there nothing more—than renunciation?
They would simply say—he was totally mad

They would shut him up—if he said anything
At least he thought so—but who’d listen to him?

There was nothing more—he could really do
Except wear the mask—of eternal damnation

Vanity wouldn’t spare him—nor hypocrisy
He’d worn the mask—of his own sins too long

Out of curiosity he—thought of trying denial
Only to recognize—it was much too late

He was the portrait—the portrait was him
The sinning had just begun—he shrugged

Scene Four

He would kill this—monstrous soul-life
And without its hideous warnings—he’d be free

He seized the knife—and stabbed the picture
Again & again—it was bright and glistened

As it had killed the painter—so he’d kill the painting
He’d kill the painter's work—and what it meant

He would kill the past—and when it was dead
He’d be free again—before conscience got to him

Yes, it had been conscience—he’d destroy it
He looked around—and stabbed it some more

Like he stabbed Basil Hallward—killing him coldly
He’d cleaned up afterwards—leaving no stain

Even when he’d been away—though a terror
Filled him lest other eyes—should look upon it

The Portrait of Dorian Gray—told no Lies
It had a melancholy life—a story all its own

Full of passions—marring mere memory
So that there were no more—moments of joy

It itself—became its own murderous evidence
He would destroy it—why had he kept it so long?

Once it had given him pleasure—to watch it age

Changing and growing older—rather than him

Now there was no such pleasure—only doom
It had kept him—goodlooking and charming

But how many murders—would it take to keep
His secret from prying eyes—that he’d never die?

Was it to haunt him—all his long drawn-out life?
Was he always to be—burdened by his past?

Was he really to confess—hardly my dear
Never would he admit—the shameless truth

There was only one piece—of evidence left
The portrait was against him—it revealed too much

A new Portrait—a new picture and a new life!
That’s what he wanted—that’s what he waited for

Surely he’d begun it already—except for one thing
The constant reminder in the attic—his evil Double

Dorian could spare nothing—not one past thing
Nothing to tempt his new innocence—again

He stabbed the Portrait—again and again
It screamed bloody murder—or was it him?

Scene Five

It was a dead man—in evening dress
With a knife in his heart—completely withered

All wrinkled—the most loathsome thing
Not until they’d examined—the diamond rings

Did they recognize—who it actually was
The balcony was locked—the windows bolted

The bolts were old—the windows rotting
When they entered—the smell was simply putrid

They found hanging there—on the attic wall
A splendid portrait—of Dorian Gray their master

The servants thought—surely the dead body
On the floor was some intruder—who died up there

The Portrait—was as they had last seen Dorian
In all the wonder of his—exquisite youth and beauty

Lying on the floor now—who was this stranger
They got the coachman—and one of the footmen

They searched the house—but he wasn’t there
They knocked on doors—looked in all the closets

But there was no reply—no Dorian anywhere
They called out—everything was deadly still

Finally the awful truth—was finally revealed
It was young handsome—Dorian Gray, oh dear!!!

Inside in the servants'—part of the house
The half-clad domestics—gossiped in low whispers

Old Mrs. Leaf was crying—wringing her hands
Francis was as pale as death—hearing the bad news

"Whose house is this?” asked the Constable
"Mr. Dorian Gray's, sir," answered the butler

They looked at each other—soon others talked
Some were silent—sneering in that knowing way

That night—the house had been all dark inside
Except for a light—in one of the attic windows

After a time—there was a horrible cry
So horrible in its agony—frightening the rats

They woke up—and crept out of their rooms
The house was deadly silent—Dorian was dead

Two gentlemen—passing in the square below

Stopped and looked up—at the great house

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