sábado, novembro 28, 2015

Writing Derring-do: "Would you be interested in writing something based on a picture?" Yes: "Onlookers and Witnesses" is the answer


(Foto by Henri Cartier-Bresson)


These last few months everything reminds me of Shakespeare…

Last week I posted a picture a friend of mine sent me. There was a challenge attached to it, i.e., to be able to write something about it. As soon I’d laid my eyes on it what immediately came to mind was Romeo and Juliet, namely Mercutio's death scene.

Mercutio's death is public and ostentatiously violent with booming sounds ending “s” with "a plague on both your houses", without forgiveness.

The deaths of Romeo and Juliet is in a church with a candled environment, private and solemn,  holy in its light and setting, with the commission of unholy acts of suicide.  The close up of Juliet awakening is suspenseful, the viewer wants Romeo to see that Juliet lives.  The music is sad and moving.

Several things struck me about Mercutio's death scene. Throughout the scene was we see more and more onlookers. More and more arrive on the scene. Then, when Mercutio dies no one wants to see anything anymore and everyone leaves fast. One person even encloses himself in a large pineapple. 
The other thing that struck me was the large stage with the big hole in the middle. It looks like an eye.
Mercutio's death probably means different things to the different onlookers depending on when they arrived. The guy in the pineapple probably does not what to even think about what Mercutio's death means.

In contrast the dead of Romeo meant only one thing to Juliet. She had to take her own life. 

Having watched Luhrmann’s film version recently and looking at the picture prompt me to write this little poem:

Onlookers and Witnesses

Onlookers
Lookers on
Lookyloos
In for the
Sport of it
the thrill of it
to report it
to say
I was there
I can gossip
My 15 minutes
To hurriedly
leave the scene.
of the accident
of the hit and run

Witnesses
Tell it
How it was
What happened
How it felt
How did it happen
Who was there
Who did what
When
Where
And why
Brave witnesses
Stay to report it
To testify
to stand up
To be counted
To call for help
To ad/minister assistance
The good Samaritan


Writing this poem made me see what Baz Luhrmann was doing. "It" leaps out from the poem. What is it that we are seeing? It means “getting it”.  

Do we get Shakespeare or are we lookyloos in for the sport of it?

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