Vision Aflame by Erika Friesen
2019 finalist: Grade 10 to 12 category
Erika Friesen is a finalist of the 2019 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 2018 to April 2019).
Friesen, who attends Virden Collegiate Institute in Virden, Man., wrote about the devastating fire at the Notre-Dame from the perspective of Hamlet's Laertes.
Check out Friesen's interview on CBC Radio:
Such quaint majestic grace this church portrays,
Thy clout and charm be of an ancient oak;
but even glory itself falls to faze,
what curse could cause this cathedral to choke?
Oh tree thy branch be thy most purest pride —
but pride must be the wicked mask of weak;
church pomp, upon such bane could thee collide?
Such splendor hiding frail and flawed physique.
But what could decimate this gothic gem,
this oak of fortitude and finery?
Vast roots that reach and roll with naught a hem,
culture of history and artistry.
Here be a church of elegance and soul
Too beautiful to surrender to coal.
Thy spire engulfed above, vision aflame.
Thy fine fort hath fallen, fallen to fire.
The blaze doth to itself this oak lay claim —
the moment, nay the year that feels so dire.
This treasure tumbles to our trepid toes;
we seek to gaze upon the former grace,
but all there be is thundering of throes,
the smoke and ash atypic for this place.
Yet who's to blame for this barrage of sparks?
This stench of smoke and sound of suffering?
The ones who took its majesty and arcs
to be a flaw and weakness covering.
Castle of church, to fiercest fire thou crashed,
we mourn for thee and all thy branches slashed.