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08 August 2009 @ 01:15 pm
[not mine!] Obeah Nights - Jean Rhys  
I came across this the other day, and it was just so Guy/Marian. And even Guy/Meg, in places? I hesitated about sharing it at first because I don't know about you, but sometimes I get lazy about reading things more than a couple of paragraphs! But it really is a beautiful, moving poem. (I thought.) So - worth sharing.

Jean Rhys also wrote Wide Sargasso Sea back in 1966. It's a prequel to Jane Eyre. This is a poem she wrote while also writing the novel; about the characters in Wide Sargasso Sea. (Poem title explanation.)

OBEAH NIGHT

A night I seldom remember
(If it can be helped)
The night I saw Love's dark face
Was Love's dark face
"And cruel as he is"? I've never known that
I've tried my best you may be certain (whoever asks)
My human best

If the next morning as I looked at what I'd done
(He was watching us mockingly, used to these games)
If I'd stared back at him
If I'd said
"I was a god myself last night
I've tamed and changed a wild girl"
Or taken my hurt darling in my arms
(Conquered at last. And silent. Mine)

Perhaps Love would have smiled then
Shown us the way
Across that sea. They say it's strewn with wrecks
And weed-infested
Few dare it, fewer still escape
But we, led by smiling Love
We could have sailed
Reached a safe harbour
Found a sweet, brief heaven
Lived our short lives

But I was both sick and sad
(Night always ends)
She was a stranger
Wearing the mask of pain
Bearing the marks of pain -
I turned away - Traitor
Too sane to face my madness (or despair)
Far, far too cold and sane

Then Love, relenting
Sent clouds and soft rain
Sent sun, light and shadow
To show me again
Her young face waiting
Waiting for comfort and a gentler lover?
(You'll not find him)
A kinder loving? Love is not kind
I would not look at her
(Once is enough)
Over my dead love
Over a sleeping girl
I drew a sheet
Cover the stains of tears
Cover the marks of blood
(You can say nothing
That I have not said a thousand times and one
Excepting this - That night was Something Else
I was Angry Love Himself
Blind fierce avenging Love - no other that night)

"It's too strong for Beke"
The black woman said
Love, hate, or jealousy
Which had she seen?
She knew well - the Devil!
- What it could mean

How can I forget you Antoinette
When the spring is here?
Where did you hide yourself

After that shameless, shameful night?
And why come back? Hating and hated?
Was it Love, Fear, Hoping?
Or (as always) Pain?
(Did you come back I wonder
Did I ever see you again?)

No. I'll lock that door
Forget it. -
The motto was "Locked Hearts I open
I have the heavy key"
Written in black letters
Under a Royal Palm Tree
On a slave owner's gravestone
"Look! And look again, hypocrite" he says
"Before you judge me"

I'm no damn slave owner
I have no slave
Didn't she (forgiven) betray me
Once more - and then again
Unrepentant - laughing?
I can soon show her
Who hates the best
Always she answers me
I will hate last

Lost, lovely Antoinette
How can I forget you
When the spring comes?
(Spring is cold and furtive here
There's a different rain)
Where did you hide yourself
After the obeah nights?
(What did you send instead?
Hating and hated?)
Where did you go?
I'll never see you now
I'll never know
For you left me - my truest Love
Long ago


SOURCE.

Thoughts? Favourite lines? Instructions for me to stop relating everything I read back to these two? ;) I did think this poem could make for some good prompts, actually.
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Thymeladythymelady on August 8th, 2009 11:26 am (UTC)
Oooh, too close for comfort! It's so Guy, torn between Marian and the sheriff! Very fitting indeed! Good find!

"If the next morning as I looked at what I'd done
(He was watching us mockingly, used to these games)
If I'd stared back at him
If I'd said
"I was a god myself last night
I've tamed and changed a wild girl"
Or taken my hurt darling in my arms
(Conquered at last. And silent. Mine)"

Gaaaah!
with a dreamy far-off look: [rh] guy/marian | closelalumena on August 9th, 2009 06:35 am (UTC)
Isn't it beautiful? And a little bit heart-wrenching, too.
Thymelady: passionforyouthymelady on August 9th, 2009 04:46 pm (UTC)
Beautiful and VERY heart-wrenching!
(Anonymous) on August 10th, 2009 11:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing this poem. It is lovely, albeit somewhat sad. Definately Guy/Marian!

"Over my dead love
Over a sleeping girl
I drew a sheet
Cover the stains of tears
Cover the marks of blood
(You can say nothing
That I have not said a thousand times and one
Excepting this - That night was Something Else
I was Angry Love Himself
Blind fierce avenging Love - no other that night)"


glitter_z on August 10th, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
Sorry..didnt mean to leave that anonymously..it was me :)