dVerse Poetics – Persona

Tuesday at dVerse Poetics, Grace and guest, KB, prompt us to write a persona poem. We step out of ourselves and comfort zones to write a poem from the viewpoint of another person – true, fictional, mythical, literary. I think this will bring about some interesting poems. Who would you like to be? Do you imagine the life inside another person? Then write it down and come link your thoughts. I have written about a person with whom I have always been fascinated – Dorian Gray.  I am linking to Poets United Poetry Pantry http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/2016/01/poetry-pantry-285.html  and dVerse Poets Pub  http://dversepoets.com/2016/01/12/poetics-persona-poem/

Two Faces – One Life
“I am tired of myself to-night. I should like to be somebody else.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

I sold my soul for eternal beauty, for never ending pleasure.
Seduced by the sensational, enticed to explore exquisite forms –
Lured to indulgent lust.
All because of an artist and his besotted attraction
To the man he painted with such loving blindness –
and to the man who stood watching me posing and the painter,
and his words of poisonous temptation to live life
– who said with a sneering laugh –
the only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it**.

I admit to you, to anyone  that I am indeed beautiful.
I was beautiful and bored that summer day
A century and more ago.
I am still beautiful and bored.
And so, I sold my soul.
Why does one need a soul when one has eternal life
– and everlasting youth and beauty?
Evenings in opium dens,
dawns in the arms of another lover,
being cruel to those who love me,
committing a casual murder just to know
how it feels to end the life of some lesser being –
and never have to pay – all my sins visible only
on a hidden portrait and no sign of them
upon my public face.

To travel to foreign lands and to feel the frissons of pleasure
in the arms of an exotic woman or a desperate man
or in several during a single evening.
To commit atrocities upon others who
need the money or the pain or the illusion and to throw down some coins
or a few false words or just to leave and never look back
at the face where love has dawned.

And yes I have loved and loved deeply.
But they grow old or mundane or predictable.
And I remain young and beautiful and desired.
And the portrait now after all these years
shows a monster of grotesque visage and in a state
of eternal rut.
But you will never know –
You will never see the private me.
and long after you are dust,
I will remain – bored and beautiful.

**quote from the Picture of Dorian Gray

Dorian Gray portrayed by Reeve Carney, Penny Dreadful Season 1, Episode 2

Dorian Gray portrayed by Reeve Carney, Penny Dreadful Season 1, Episode 2



49 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sanaa Rizvi
    Jan 10, 2016 @ 14:56:24

    and long after you are dust,
    I will remain – bored and beautiful.

    Sigh.. this is such a beautifully touching write 🙂


  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Jan 10, 2016 @ 15:35:46

    Dorian Gray — a fascinating character.. to live you life in vice, and always without a single trace… a sad description of what humanity can become… maybe we need those consequences to behave.


  3. Donna@Living From Happiness
    Jan 10, 2016 @ 15:40:47

    I love Dorian’s story as well…a study in human life and what it would be like to sell your soul….I felt as if Dorian were speaking here…you nailed this!


    • kanzensakura
      Jan 10, 2016 @ 15:47:20

      Thank you! He’s nothing like me – guess it’s that Jewish guilt thing! Wilde often said that Dorian represented different parts of him. Interesting literary character.


  4. Sherry Marr
    Jan 10, 2016 @ 18:09:30

    You totally nailed this!!!!


  5. Grace
    Jan 10, 2016 @ 18:53:12

    I admire the portrayal of Dorian Grey…still bored and beautiful till the end ~ This is my favorite part as it goes into the mind of the character:

    I sold my soul.
    Why does one need a soul when one has eternal life
    – and everlasting youth and beauty?
    all my sins visible only
    on a hidden portrait and no sign of them
    upon my public face.

    Thanks Toni ~


  6. thotpurge
    Jan 10, 2016 @ 20:34:57

    Nicely done…really enjoyed this one.


  7. lynn__
    Jan 10, 2016 @ 22:42:03

    Convincing post, Toni…you really put yourself into Dorian’s tragic portrait!


    • kanzensakura
      Jan 10, 2016 @ 22:47:25

      And I am nothing like this! Just pulled from reading the novel and knowing about Oscar Wilde’s life and his time in court defending this book. But Dorian has always fascinated me.


  8. 1sojournal
    Jan 11, 2016 @ 00:55:52

    I think there might be a bit of Dorian in each of us, yearning to let go of all the rules and do whatever we please, whenever we choose. But, somehow we keep it in check because we also know that with any amount of time we will never again be always bored and beautiful. Thanks for your visit and your kind words.



  9. petrujviljoen
    Jan 11, 2016 @ 04:48:09

    I’ve read some of Oscar Wilde’s works and saw a television film made on his life, but can’t remember the name of it. He could make words shimmer (his words). Having had to spend time in jail for being gay – what terribly restricted times they lived in then. And no, I don’t relate to his lifestyle either.


  10. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade)
    Jan 11, 2016 @ 04:48:45

    Indeed a fascinating tale to capture the imagination! (But the one who got to me was the Happy Prince.)


  11. dsnake1
    Jan 11, 2016 @ 07:09:56

    i think this is a very good response to the prompt. you have captured the persona of the character very well. 🙂


  12. Marcoantonio Arellano
    Jan 11, 2016 @ 07:35:34

    i very much appreciated this writing but i also am fascinated by your response of …but i’m nothing like this…and… it must be the jewish in me, that is the ‘guilt’.


    gracias, enjoyed


    • kanzensakura
      Jan 11, 2016 @ 11:28:46

      I had a friend, way back in university. She and I used to have long discussions about who did “guilt” better – Catholics or Jews? I told her Catholics did “guilt lite” but Jewish Mothers? You carried the guilt they laid on you to the grave…I said it half in jest and it has become a decades old tagline for us. I don’t really feel that guilt having taken responsibility for my actions in life and their consequences. I read The Picture of Dorian Gray when I was around 13 and it fascinated me even more than Dracula – who of course wasn’t bored and beautiful and couldn’t go out during the day. Sometimes, we all wish to be someone other than who we are. I’ve never been bored or beautiful but it was fun to pretend in this poem. After all, persona poems are just us poets being kids and playing pretend. Glad you enjoyed.


  13. Victoria C. Slotto
    Jan 11, 2016 @ 15:48:31

    Strong interpretation of this disturbing character. Just read your previous comment. I was hired at a Jewish Hospital in the late 80’s–the recruiter was the wofe of an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi. She and I became close friends and we used to go back and forth about who did guilt better. It was a hoot and I think she won, although I’m still pretty proficient, though less so by far. :0)


  14. James Toma (Jamztoma)
    Jan 11, 2016 @ 19:59:53

    sighs. I absolutely adored your poem here. the sin of beauty and its adventures once again. beauty…such a good and bad thing.


    • kanzensakura
      Jan 11, 2016 @ 20:13:22

      I am so glad you commented. I couldn’t figure out how to comment on your poem but wanted to. I am glad you liked this. It took me awhile to write because I had to read the book again and refresh my brain on Oscar Wilde and his court trials. But it was fun.


  15. ghostmmnc
    Jan 11, 2016 @ 21:18:36

    I loved reading your work here! I’ve always been fascinated by Oscar Wilde. I haven’t read anything on Dorian Gray, though. Now, I really want to.


    • kanzensakura
      Jan 11, 2016 @ 21:28:25

      It was a notorious book for its day. His publisher refused to print the book in its entirety and a serial magazine picked it up to print its entire manuscript in installments. Wilde also underwent being on trial, tried for being homosexual. It was a scandal, which he weathered and went on to write several amazing plays, essays, short stories. He often said Gray was based on him – his real self, public self, private self, pretend self. In a way, Wilde was himself a living person poem.


  16. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Jan 11, 2016 @ 21:39:15

    Glad to be back. Exquisite, Kanzen. You’ve captured the voice or Dorian Gray as I would hear him. Tone, voice, paint strokes of color are all here for ME. ❤ ❤ ❤


  17. Mary
    Jan 12, 2016 @ 10:32:56

    You have really gotten inside of his mind, Toni! Your poem is rich with thoughtful detail that brings Dorian Gray to life!


  18. K. A. Bryce
    Jan 12, 2016 @ 15:24:35

    I think you have the makings of a strong poem with what you’ve written. It needs to be pared down and tightened .Sometimes in doing a persona we can have too much information we think is necessary for the reader and it overburden the essence of the point being made. Excellent job. >KB


    • kanzensakura
      Jan 12, 2016 @ 15:32:03

      Thank you. It does still need some work but many of the details, I will leave as I enjoy them. And it amazes me how little people know of Wilde and Gray. I do hope that it has triggered some interest.


  19. Glenn Buttkus
    Jan 12, 2016 @ 15:44:53

    I love the poem & did not find any of it to be extraneous. Sometimes blue-penciling & tightening erode, even destroy the raw vigor of the piece. Of course, as you now, I’m a fan & proponent of longer poems. I love to see you reach beyond the brevity of the buttoned-down Japanese form that you excel & soar, whirl, & reach out; great job, enjoyed it immensely. Love the image from PENNY DREADFUL. Dorian Gray is portrayed exactly as you perceived him.


    • kanzensakura
      Jan 12, 2016 @ 16:00:30

      Thank you Glenn. I do enjoy free verse but always worry it is too long. But I liked this poem a lot. The “extraneous” details seem to have piqued interest in Wilde and Gray. I liked that image as well…the living man among his many portraits of his ancestors. Carney did an excellent portrayal and is a simply beautiful young man. I’ve enjoyed Wilde’s writings for many years and his plays sparkle but slash as well. I had already tightened this several times before posting. When I finally did post my last thought was, thank goodness Glenn at least won’t mind it’s longer than usual. Smile. You may want to search for images of Reeve Carney as Dorian. The series has surprised me as to the depth of the acting and stories of “real” fictional persons. The accurate details astound. They built a Victorian theater in Belfast because they couldn’t find one that fit the bill. In several episodes, you are taken in real time through through various parts of the theater. My husband was delighted!


  20. whimsygizmo
    Jan 12, 2016 @ 18:49:30

    A favorite classic movie of mine. LOVE the voice you’ve taken here.


  21. The Literary Doc
    Jan 13, 2016 @ 01:14:38

    “I am still bored and beautiful.” I think my favorite line. I love how the whole poem pauses here, and the reader is forced to stop and reflect.


  22. Polly
    Jan 13, 2016 @ 04:10:00

    You’ve captured the image – nice write


  23. Misky
    Jan 13, 2016 @ 07:35:07

    Such a curse to feel hollow forever … by choice.


  24. lillian
    Jan 13, 2016 @ 09:46:33

    Portraits….frozen in time. Your words capture it all.


  25. Abhra
    Jan 13, 2016 @ 13:12:53

    “Why does one need a soul when one has eternal life
    – and everlasting youth and beauty?”

    Great piece – Toni….


  26. Bodhirose
    Jan 13, 2016 @ 16:16:55

    You did an amazing job with describing the inner thoughts of a totally, shallow human being. Really enjoyed this, Toni, you got in his egotistical head so well! I haven’t read about this figure of Oscar Wilde’s but have heard of him.


  27. ladynyo
    May 24, 2018 @ 18:21:59

    Fabulous! Had me on the edge of my seat. You know how to spin the internals, and this was an enchantment. there is something almost deadpan about this piece….world-weary, definitely bored with eternal life (love that ‘why do you need a soul…etc”) Brava, Toni. This certainly is good. I remember one of the last things (probably the last??) he said lying in his bed, dying, in the hotel room: “The wallpaper: one of us has to go.”


    • kanzensakura
      May 24, 2018 @ 18:58:02

      Yeppers. Oscar was mos def world weary. He loved his children and his wife but he loved his lover as well. He spend the time in jail because of it. A lost of Oscar went into Dorian. Thank you for reading.

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10



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