Helen

I told Rebekah I’d work on my novel plans tonight…instead, I wrote poetry. *grins*

I went to see a play last night. Helen, by Ellen McLaughlin. It’s based on the premise that Helen (as in, Helen of Troy. Trojan War? Yea, that.) does not actually go to Troy. Instead, the gods send a holographic replacement Helen there and whisk the real Helen away to some chintzy hotel in Egypt, where she has consequently been locked up for the past seventeen years, with no interaction with anyone except the Egyptian maid, and no outside information. The play centered on the idea of the “Cinderella complex,” or the princess complex, where women feel like they can’t do or be anything without a man (prince charming!) to ride in and save them first. They spend their whole lives waiting for their knight in shining armor, and never actually do anything to live up to their full potential. Helen stays in her hotel room, without even venturing down the hall once, for seventeen years, because her husband, Menelaus, is supposed to come save her. That’s the way the story goes, and she can’t do anything other than wait.

Whenever the Egyptian maid would come into her room, Helen asked her for a story. Each story the maid told was indirectly about Helen herself, and spoke about how she was become just an icon that people raved over, and was no longer human. That is how everyone wanted her. They didn’t want a real Helen with real feelings; instead, they wanted a perfect Helen. A fake Helen.

The play concludes with the idea (presented by the Egyptian woman) that everyone has a story…their own, individual story. People can’t be constantly trying, like Helen, to push themselves into a fake mold of perfection so that others will like them; they have to have the guts to tell their story their way, and not be afraid to go out and do things and be things. Or else they will stay locked away, like Helen in her hotel room, waiting for seventeen years for something that will never happen…

Deep.

Anyhow. Let that stand as an introduction for this poem. Enjoy.

 

~~~

 

Face of marble
Unmarred by thought
Mask of perfection
By beauty taught

Still and unblinking
Yet battered and bruised
By gaze of millions
Torn and used

Embodying all
Yet vacant and pure
Contradicts each
In manner too sure

Showing us only
A dream of ourselves
While deep inside
Just empty shelves

No longer human
So far past that door
Just an idea
We want nothing more

An icon to last
From moment to year
To decade and age
Is all we need here

We want the tears
Weeping for us
We need no thoughts
Nor feelings discussed

Personal heart
Emotion and word
Lodge fast inside
Don’t need to be heard

Safe in the dark
All feeling lost
A great masquerade
No matter the cost

Now endowed with
Whatever we like
Invent the rest
On a whim’s strike

Identity lost
Impossible death
Like slashing a screen
To steal its last breath

Grasping for pieces
Of this doll we know
Faking perfection
Just don’t let it show

Frozen in stillness
Perpetual sleep
Most beautiful moment
Forever to keep

So close to death
But never quite there
Second best place
Perfection so rare

Abhorrence and pity
A soft voice says
A terrible story
Ah, yes, it is

Everyone’s story
Waiting to rise
Only ask once
Before it dies

Locked away, looking
Grown stiff and numb
Waiting for something
That will never come

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Tiberius Shift says:

    I wish so much that I could write poetry…*sigh*

    Like

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