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Caliban’s Lament

by on 12 June 2020

Caliban’s LamentKeyhole (Oliver Plumb)text

by Anne Warrington


He sat there amidst
torn sheets of paper
staring at the tyrant’s staff broken un
evenly into pieces.
This solitary island was once more his
disturbed only
by bird song,
crickets chirruping in
tall grasses swaying in the wind,
crystal clear rivulets rippling through lush vegetation,
calm seas whose waves
gently lapped on golden beaches.
Why wasn’t he happy?
Why this discontent –
frustration, resentment,
feelings of abandonment?
Not even that loathsome creature
of the air
deigned to make an appearance.
All that now was in the past.
Now was the time to celebrate
to dance, to feast.
Now free from the tyrant,
and his fickle daughter
he would have the best festival ever.
He clapped his hands as he’d
seen the tyrant do so many times.



He stared at the broken staff,
the torn leaves from books,
books he’d despised,
hating how easily the tyrant had
violated his island with magic,
symbols and signs he didn’t understand …
strings of numbers to
change the weather,
controlled the seas,
cause tempests
command spirits.
The festivals he missed –
sumptuous feasts, carnival,
celestial music
Times when his body
leapt free of its
Again, he stared at the broken staff,
the sheets of paper
torn from the tyrant’s library of books.
His path became clear
The broken staff would become whole
Piece by piece, page by page, cover by cover
the books would be restored
their secrets revealed.
He would reign supreme,
controller of all that he surveyed,
more powerful than the Tyrant
who’d left him behind,
without a backward glance,
to work out his own destiny.

Once the power was his
all the stars and the planets
in the heavens would give up their secrets

His power would match that of the Tyrant’s!

Anne Warrington
June 2020

Photography by Clive Barda and Knee Bar

From → Poems, Poetry Preview

One Comment

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  1. Caliban’s Lament: A Critique | Mark Aspen

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