Encounter

For my post at Real Toads Tuesday Platform. Another poem in the Dorian Gray series of poems I have been writing for several years. the Café Royal is real and exists in London. It was the pied a terre for modern artists and wits such as Whistler and Oscar Wilde.

Encounter
“We have little time and lots to do, lets take time for everything we do.” Oscar Wilde
A year had passed since my husband died –
It was spring and I was alive!
I had married –
A rich old man married for convenience –
His!
He sputtered on top of me and-
Out, like a candle.
I put on the new dress of beautiful violet,
Second mourning.
I had my disapproving (and soon to be sacked) butler
summon a cab for me.
I was going to the Cafe Royal for their wonderful cafe mocha,
And to be honest,
To see if he would be there.
He had sent the loveliest note
And later, flowers- and more flowers.
Sedate and discrete of course.
My footman assisted me into the hansom
and of we clipclopped.
The doorman at the Café Royal assisted me out
of the hansom and looked askance at my second mourning.
I ignored him.
Into the large room I stepped,
suddenly afraid. What if he really was there!
the maître ‘d showed me to one of the discreet tables
on the side of all the filled, busy ones.
I ordered a café mocha and waited.
Suddenly our eyes met across the room.
The beautiful man – had not changed in a year.
As he crossed the room, a brown smudge imposed itself
between he and me – then disappeared.
As he came closer I saw him as an old man,
a roue’ – eyes filled with lust.
I felt I would faint.
He looked concerned and told one of the waiters
to bring me the newest thing –
iced water – a tall thin glass filled with ice
brought monthly from Greenland,
parked in huge blocks in warehouses on the East Indian Dock,
covered with sawdust to preserve them.
Mrs. Helmsworth, he murmured.
I could not speak. Again the vision of him
as an old old man.
He smiled but in his eyes
I saw evil.
I found my voice.
Good afternoon Mr. Gray.
He smiled, slowly and sat down across from me
and handed me a yellow rose.
In spite of me, I felt the heat.

19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sanaarizvi
    Sep 11, 2018 @ 14:24:24

    This was such a riveting read! I felt like I was walking and experiencing everything right alongside her.. “In spite of me, I felt the heat”.. makes me want to know what happens next! ❤

    Reply

  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Sep 11, 2018 @ 16:09:23

    I really felt that she have been warned… there is danger ahead, but maybe lust is stronger than caution…

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Sep 11, 2018 @ 16:21:49

      Yeppers. I think she is in for a world if hurt ahead, though she will mos def get her itch scratched.

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  3. Carrie V. H.
    Sep 11, 2018 @ 16:43:43

    A captivating read for sure! Loved it!

    Reply

  4. Jim
    Sep 11, 2018 @ 18:02:58

    As a guy I loved reading, an insight to the thoughts of a lady too young to be a widow. Been there sort of, a jilted man as well as a happy single man for three years at pre-midlife. I behaved well. But now I’m happily married, been for a long time.
    An aside, i had tea with Mrs Jim, our grandaughter and daughter about five years ago. It’s at Picadilly Square, beside Whole Food and the theatre district. Lots of Sunday afternoons when church (also on Regents Street) let out we’d go down there.
    ..

    Reply

  5. thotpurge
    Sep 11, 2018 @ 22:37:21

    Oh what a story… hope there is a part II !!!!

    Reply

  6. Pat: willow88switches
    Sep 12, 2018 @ 11:15:42

    I love how we’re just swept into this – and the period is so richly portrayed and pieced for us …. this is a great serial – and it’s all very fascinating. Well done Toni. [clearly the muse has some ideas about all of this and it is fun to be a part of the process by witness and examination, in exploration.]

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Sep 12, 2018 @ 13:59:15

      Thank you Pat. This is my favorite time period. I earned my MFA by writing about it and by submitting a series of poems based upon Oscar, Dorian, Whistler, and other denizens of that time period and of the Café Royal.

      Reply

  7. Rosemary Nissen-Wade
    Sep 13, 2018 @ 17:12:32

    I don’t think I’ve seen any others of the series. This one whets my appetite for more, lol!

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Sep 13, 2018 @ 17:36:10

      Glad to hear it. Go to my website and search for Dorian Gray. https://kanzensakura.wordpress.com/ My masters adviser advised against the path I was taking. Extensive study of the Victorian era, mores, hypocrisy, fashion, mourning customs, and Famous people from tat eara. After the first two poems, she fell in love and stoutly defended my choice along with me. Sometimes Duke University can be an odd combo of ultra modern and staid. Thank you rosemary. Some of the poems are better than others, of course. The one new one that I wrote and submitted at the last minute, as on the suicide of Anthony bourdain. I felt his loss deeply and miss him. I knew him from a couple of meetings with. My friend Jeff suicided almost a year to the day earlier.

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  8. kim881
    Sep 14, 2018 @ 13:24:38

    “You know I’m a fan and I can’t get enough of your Dorian Gray poems, Toni. Although I know how wicked he is, I can’t help but put myself in her shoes – thank God for imagination! I like the off-handed:
    ‘He sputtered on top of me and-
    Out, like a candle.
    I put on the new dress of beautiful violet,
    Second mourning’.
    I’m intrigued as to how she’s getting visions of Dorian as an old man.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Sep 14, 2018 @ 14:02:06

      I think she is a little bit psychic and she may have been having visions of her dead husband. He would have been in a position to know more about Dorian than she. Who knows? Maybe his ghost was trying to warn her?

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      • kim881
        Sep 14, 2018 @ 14:07:42

        wow! I’m reading a great book with a ghost as narrator, it’s called The Clockmaker’s Daughter. I’m really enjoying it.

        Reply

        • kanzensakura
          Sep 14, 2018 @ 14:10:03

          That is a great book! And then there is one if my favorite old movies, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Wonderful movie.

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