This poem didn’t need much revision for presentation here – I still approve the effect of the run-on rhymes and the way the alexandrines mirror the feminine rhythms of the storytelling in this gem of a film. The banner header for this blog is also from the same film.
Directed by Melbourne’s Gillian Armstrong and starring the irresistibly game Cate Blanchett opposite a compulsive gambler who aspires to the cloth (played with gentle understatement by Ralph Fiennes), Oscar and Lucinda sets the bar for screen chemistry rather high. But this is something I’ve come to expect from lady directors (see also Onegin, directed by Martha Fiennes, or Stander, directed by Bronwen Hughes). Armstrong went on to direct another of Blanchett’s early films, the WWII intrigue Charlotte Gray, but is probably best known for her earlier blockbuster adaptation of Little Women (with soon-to-be-all-star-cast members like Winona Rider, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes and Christian Bale).
Here I’m writing from Oscar’s point of view in an introvert’s stream-of-consciousness outpouring about Lucinda, and about spiritual life, love, and zest for adventure.
Unimpeachable friendship. That bank run on faith,
all this mummery frowning on dervish-like grace!
In her furnace for glass, half-formed chalices’ lips
softly smolder on tongs for communion wine’s kiss –
now a ball, now a bowl, now a candlestick – no,
now a lense, now a window, a prism, aglow
with a light glass embraces with tremulous care,
almost jangling into oblivion where
pre-fab walls made of glass rise like dragonfly wings
to a steeple of glass where the sun gently wrings
glassy shadows from river reflections of trees
on the banks of a settlement far from the sea’s
unimpeachable tact, dressing always for death,
reconciled to the strangeness of life, every sense,
every joint and kinetic translation of force
simply liquified – swimmers our souls – never poor,
not among the fastidious cards of the hands
we are dealt, never lacking in gambits and plans,
ever hopeful that fate will dictate the divine
for what more can Creation’s own dice signify?