Mother by Emily Morin
2018 finalist: Grades 10 to 12 category
Emily Morin is a finalist of the 2018 Shakespeare Selfie Student Writing Challenge. This annual writing competition challenges students to write a soliloquy or monologue in the voice of a Shakespearean character based on a prominent news, pop culture or current affairs event from the last year (April 2017 to April 2018).
Morin, who attends Espanola High School in Espanola, Ont., wrote about the Women's Memorial March on Feb. 14, 2018 in Vancouver, B.C. from the perspective of Hamlet's Ophelia.
The owl is gone, Mother!
The trees do whisper, "dead and gone is she."
She's been stolen from the baker by wolves and hounds,
with a dozen limbs made of iron and wheat.
With amaryllis and oleander clenched in their great maws,
How they cackle and bray like beasts!
Oh, Mother! My dear, cold Mother!
Have you seen the women that mourn and weep?
I've spied them marching in the brook beneath the willow,
And the tumultuous waves they do leave.
Sweet ladies, how scorned are thee!
Howling like furies, trailing smoke and feathers of white.
Faces marred with grief, and ruddy weeds.
They've spoken to me, mother!
The women in the water.
Their divine voices intertwining within mine own ears.
May god'ield them!
They laugh and sing songs through their tears:
"When he reached for a chick
The hen came upon him quick
And pecked the knave's eyes from his head,
The season is changing, they say, Mother.
And like the leaves fall, so will the beasts.
The women in the brook exchange trinkets,
helenium for nasturtium and edelweiss,
Marigolds for honeysuckle and moss,
the owl's dear memory shall they keep.
Call me mad, I pray you!
I know what I have seen beneath the boughs.
Surely these proud women have themselves been cursed for refusing to lie still like dumb, naive creatures,
Like... like sheep! Or an old sow!
Sweet ladies, clad in wolf-pelts and sorrow,
Bring me hazel and poppies, I beg of thee!
Tell me stories of conquests, of the kingdoms made of stone, paths that never end, the bourgeoisie.
Be the voice that I gave up to my poor father, in vain, for he was struck down without a chance to plea.
Remain marching in this brook, and hang garlands from the trees,
and when I'm dead and gone please mourn for me.