Found Love, Found Poetry; Oscar Wilde & Lord Alfred Douglas

November is a challenging month for me, while others wade into NaNoWriMo, my progress grinds to a halt- the holidays mean five days a week of an incredibly busy job; there are days where I’m so tired I’m falling asleep by six thirty. I have birthdays of family members, multiple Thanksgivings, and no time off. December proves to be little better.

So with that in mind I’ve set aside my larger writing projects in favor of lighter fair. Vignettes, flash fiction, and poetry, both found and original. We start ourselves of with a project I’m working on where I build poetry from the letters and essays of famous authors, with a focus on those who either confirmed or implied their homosexuality or bisexuality.

Our first entry is with the ever eloquent Oscar Wilde. Born in Dublin and married to the progressive and independently wealthy Constance Lloyd in 1884. In June of 1891 he met Lord Alfred Douglas, and the resulting affair allowed Wilde to give voice to some of his most beautiful prose. Despite the persecution he underwent for his choice in love, it did not seem to waver, even through the years he was held in prison. In a world where some people still choose ignorance and hate, there is much to be said for choosing love and forgiveness in the face of persecution.

I have taken lines from various letters written to Douglas starting in 1892 and ending 1897. The letters themselves, along with a look at the relationship between Wilde and Douglas were found at Brain Pickings. The punctuation and capitalization is my own, everything else is pure Oscar.

Death and Love seem to walk on either hand
Our slim gilt soul walks between passion and poetry
You are the divine thing I want
red and yellow wine
So Greek and gracious, distorted with passion
rose-crowned as of old
Made no less for the madness of music
always in its sudden swallow-flights towards north and south
Our love has passed through the shadow
cool your hands in the grey twilight of Gothic things.
Tomorrow all will be over.

Next week we will take a look at the letters from Our Lady of Window Light and Hater of Household Chores; Emily Dickinson, who kept a lively and verbose correspondence with her long time friend and sister-in-law, Susan Huntington.

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