Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Death of Marat

The Death of Marat
écrivant pour le bonheur du peuple

What was Marat thinking
as he sat in his tub
before rudely interrupted
by Charlotte Corday?
Was his mind fixed
on The Revolution - 
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité
Jacobins and Montagnards    
and headless roi
c’est l’etat  no more
when virgin Caen sister
walked demurely
through his door?

Did his thoughts drift
to alpine days
and boyhood dreams
in Neuchatel;
strolls with Father
along the lake
discussing matters
Were there regrets
at this late date?

Did he pause to study
soap bubbles
in refracted light,
ou nouvelles découvertes
sur la lumière;
diversion from
incessant itch inflamed
hiding in the sewers
of Paris
for the cause?

Was he aroused
by…other things;
tumescent rush
beneath the board;
had he misconstrued
Marie-Ann’s blush   
for passion of  
another sort
while she played games
parading names
nine inch kitchen
blade veiled  
beneath her corset?

When did le docteur
become aware
Mademoiselle’s knife
had cut the air?
Did he observe
it gore his chest
was he distracted
by her list
when vulnus punctum
could not be ignored
as his blood poured
out while Simonne sipped tea,
jealous in the other room
until she heard his dying plea
Aidez-moi, ma chère amie!

Could he have known
that Jaques Louis
would frame the scene,
entombing him
for posterity
a pair
with Lepeletier
gone missing?

What was Marat’s final conclusion
when he slumped in his tub
and his towel-wrapped head rolled
to the right  
and his arm dropped down
while his hand
clutched his pen,
vivid, dramatic horror,
pitiful sight?
Was his mind fixed,
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité!
or...did he curse
his mortalité,
l'ange de l'assassinat
and the God-damned

                   © W.H. Stokes
                   June 2, 2010

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