Friday, June 01, 2007

Progress Report

I've written the first two scenes of my verse play. Here are the last two speeches of Act I, sc. ii, a scene of conspirators (the villains). The play is set in 6th century BC Ionia. An actor could chew some scenery with this final soliloquy.

Our lives are weighted in the balance now;
If gravity tilts to Simonides,
Our fall is final.

Fear thus framed is waste.
Conserve the energies inside your soul
For anger, courage, hatred -- useful turns
Of mind that point as a pack to our goal.
When action waits, then resolution tells
The outcome, firm resolve brings on success.
But fear, base fear, is father to defeat,
A bastard child unwanted and unclaimed.
Now go, prepare: seek out the steel inside
Your breast and shine it till it gleams. Enough.
No words now.

No words now; what are words? The stuff of lies.
Without our words the world would be a school
Of honesty and fairness and we men
Would handle our affairs in silent
Righteousness, superior to gods.
For I myself have used words with deceit:
I know how lies go; I know what they do.
Brave Drakon names our cause a noble case;
His words are honorable and most true,
And I will ply them as a carpenter
His studs of pine and beams of sturdy oak.
The words of Thales, Heraclitus,
Democritus and Parmenides, the
Best words of our gabbing race, are but
Battalions bent to serve me as I wish.
They meet my end, my purpose hidden here
And burning all my being in a hot
Inferno; blasting, all-consuming flames
That do devour all my waking thoughts;
The goal that is my very form, my life:
I live for power. Power! Let the rest
Of vast existence fade forgotten all,
Until the final, tired tick of time;
The universe is nothing to my end,
I live for power, yearn for power, yea,
And food and water fuel me for my fight.
Delights and worldly pleasures tempt me not,
Distractions have I none, for power is
The matter and the form, the actual
Potential; all the raining atoms of
My soul collide, congeal and integrate
As one to this, my everything and all,
As power is existence, being, breath;
Without it lies the empty void of death.


Mike N said...

I'm not an accomplished critic but I think that is really quite good.

Myrhaf said...

Thanks, Mike. It's hard to judge until the play is done. I just wrote the third scene, a comic scene of the heroine and two other women, and it is mostly in prose. The heroine, Apollonia, comes off Shavian: emancipated, independent and witty. Her friend is conventional and obedient to provide contrast and easily shocked to provide comedy.

I'm following Shakespeare's lead by switching back and forth between poetry and prose as the play needs, and also writing a fluid, flexible iambic pentameter as in his later style.