Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wilde Kisses

Lipstick on Oscar Wilde's grave.
Thanks to Katy Evans Bush for reminding me it is Oscar Wilde's birthday. And it was a photo Katy put on her blog, of Wilde's gravestone showered with lipsticked kisses (as in the photo above), along with an interview I later read with Merlin Holland (from which the quote below is taken), that prompted the sonnet I've posted here. As of December last year they have erected a glass screen around Wilde's grave to prevent his fans' defacement/adornment.

Oscar’s Grave

It is touching that they remember him with such affection.
But on the other hand it is really tiresome – Merlin Holland

Scrub off those lipstick kisses
pressed on the pale stone
and they’ll return, shades
of pink, terracotta, snail grey.

Would he have blanched, haunted
by atrocious wallpaper?
Or seen the outline, an illustration
for some story he might ––

if he could gather his thought:
a prince whose elegant name
deserted him, having stolen
the life he should have lived

and the death also, eyelids
breathed on, kissed closed.

[photographer unknown]