Miranda, Ferdinand, Caliban, and Me


I: Miranda

Feet sugared with sand
she roams the isolated beaches of her island prison
scanning the ocean surface

When he finally washes on her shore
young and perfect in form
she is not disappointed
believes Ferdinand the most beautiful and noble of creatures

Her world for so long had been water sprites and fairies
an aged father
and hulking resentment from her singular, former friend

Oh, to be Miranda
see promise in all
possess arms created expressly to stretch so wide they could hold close everything
a heart cast full ready to give and receive love

Reading her to life when I was nineteen
I swore to give my first daughter her name
pattern myself after Miranda’s naïve incorruptibility and faithfulness

II: Caliban

Stumbling, wounded, with ages vanished and purse weighted with promises unfulfilled
I searched again for Miranda
planned to beg her to sit with me and hold my hand as I faltered
stay awhile and set me straight

Ferdinand was still drying out in the sun of the beach
his wrecked ship lost
Miranda chastely waiting without knowing quite why
wandering her island alone
Caliban’s companionship long rejected

strange, mute, boy who watched Miranda flower in mind and body
drawn in by her beauty and light
orphan son of a witch
victim of nature, nurture, and Prospero
a slave in his own kingdom

Would anyone expect anything less than Caliban becoming mesmerized by Miranda
express his growing adolescent attraction by wanting to press his shifting body against hers
attempt to unravel the mystery that had begun to churn his guts whenever she walked near

And her, all radiance and chastity,
the one who gave Caliban voice
taught him about kindness and gentility
ran beaches with him until they fell exhausted into the cool surf
had every right to rebuff his physical advances

But not his friendship
not hand him back his heart
after she had schooled him in its use

Oh, to not be Miranda

but to be more

© Julie Ayers
May 2012


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