Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Twilight Of The Silent Movie Queen



The Silent Movie Queen,

Adored by millions,

Attends the opening of her latest melodrama.

In it,

She gives birth out of wedlock.

The dialogue card reads,

"Have mercy on me, a sinner."

On the screen, her famous eyes look Heavenward as she holds the child wrapped in a blanket. Snow falls as she arrives outside St. John's.

A priest takes the child inside the sanctuary and closes the church door, leaving her to sink, alone, onto the stone steps.


She reaches out one famous slender arm;

The Silent Movie Queen is known for both her curls and her clear pure waves of emotion.

The people in the audience rise and sink at her every expression and gesture.

She gathers their hearts,

And does with them what she will.


The Silent Movie Queen arrives at her apartments and says goodnight to her escort, the faded matinee idol who played the priest. She goes inside and takes off her heels and fur.

The floors are marble.

The bed is empty.

Only that morning, a slender arm, not her own, had hung limply over the side.

Her heart is like a cut glass vase,

Holding flowers with sharp stems.

She never said, "I love you. Please stay."

She never said, "I am the pitcher, painted and beautiful,

But empty without your grace to fill me,

Touching me everywhere with gorgeous sweetness from within."

Have mercy on me, a sinner.

It is New Year's Eve, 1923.

The Silent Movie Queen makes no sound as she sits down on the bed,

Knowing she cannot break character,

Knowing she cannot change the script

Because she loves the life that goes with the image,

Even though it leaves her like this,

A little ridiculous

And forever damned.

________
Photograph: Mary Pickford

18 comments:

Steve E said...

Sometimes I ask myself, "Why has God chosen to allow me to be one of the so fortunate few to read Shay's 'WORD-GARDEN TALES' day after wonderful day.

The messages conveyed through your marvelous and vivid imagination help all alike who read and understand.

Comment written under a Blue Moon which is covered over with a slightly bluish tinted veil.

Mama Zen said...

Beautiful and tragic.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Ah...and the New Year looms.

Gabriella Moonlight said...

What a tragedy, seemed plucked still out of the last decade and not 1923 although if you saw me you'd know immediately my love for Louise Brooks...:-)

Happy New Year...thank you!!
xox Gabi

Riot Kitty said...

Very beautiful. Happy New Year!

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

Mary Pickford is quite possibly one my absolute favourite Canadians, actors and beautiful people. I love what you have written it is at once raw and elegant.
Oh and Claire contributes to the romantic query letter once or twice a month usually as part of the Absolute Writer Water Cooler Monthly Blog Chains.
Warmest regards and every happiness in the new year.
BIG HUG and a ton of love,
Simone.

Talon said...

Happy 2010, Fireblossom!

As wise woman Mama Zen said - beautiful and tragic.

Shadow said...

a beautiful tragedy!

Fireblossom said...

Romantic, I too, love Mary Pickford! Someone said that when she is on screen, you're not looking at anybody else. So true! I think her life is so poignant. She came from nothing, worked her tail off, used her marvelous talent, and became both the first female superstar of the movies, and a savvy businesswoman married to the dashing Douglas Fairbanks. But in the end, she lost it all, her husband, her looks, her career, all of it except her mansion Pickfair. It breaks my heart!

My poem is not about Mary Pickford, though I have used her picture. But I think, similar stories play out all the time. It's just my own fascination with silent movie queens that keeps bringing me back to this particular stage.

Secretia said...

A crying shame, those things she never said, so very sad.

Secretia

Steve E said...

Yesssss! We met with Gabi and Kristin
June 2009. It was the nicest few hours, we got to eat dinner (Kristin bought!) and hit a really good AA meeting...got to know all the Peeps there--and I got hugged! Twice! NICE! (Just tryin' to make you jealous--grin!)

And, as you know, they are just a delightful two girls. I would sure go "out of my way" to meet with them again.

HAPPY First of January to YOU, girl--thank you for commenting so sweetly on my postings.
Love.

Daryl said...

I cannot think how I spent my mornings before I met you ... and you way with words and friendship. xoxo

mac said...

This is beautiful....she never said.

Pouty Lips said...

I'm glad you put your play list back up. I'm enjoying it this morning. Too many women are still left ridiculous - even after all of these years. Happy New Year!

K said...

It's beautiful.

Happy New Year.

ellen abbott said...

Happy New Year Shay.

RachelW said...

The arm in her bed, I found myself wanting it to belong to the child, and for them to stay together. True love.

Kay said...

i know her. i am her. very touching.