For this final project, I’d originally intended to write a poem from Jane Eyre’s perspective in the style of Carrion Comfort by Gerard Hopkins. I then switched gears to writing the poem from the POV of Jane Eyre to that of Antoinette, until I finally scrapped the Hopkins part and just wrote a poem about Antoinette’s final moments. It’s one sonnet, so if it’s not enough please just let me know professor. I got a few more in me I bet. My brain is just spaghetti at the moment, and I cannot fathom writing the sort of dense mumbo jumbo that Hopkins writes at this current capacity.
So yeah, here’s the poem. I figure just one is kinda skimpy, but I’ll talk about it for as long as I can, as well as some other thoughts of Wide Sargasso Sea. So here goes:
Birds in Cages and The Power of Memories or something by Matt Travers
Between these manor walls I know,
like mothers bird, flames swallow me.
These fleeting refrains from constant woe
are but fragments of memories of dreams lost at sea.
But as I search through the purse down below,
methodically as to not jangle the keys,
I feel his touch on my skin, as I did long ago.
too real for a dream, he’s real, he’s Sandi.
We begin our escape from these cold English walls
for the islands, for the sea, for the love, for the warm.
At the window we wait till we hear Coco’s call,
then we hear him approach, see his fiery form.
We step up to the edge and we hold our hands tight
and with a life-or-death kiss we leap into the night.
Not my greatest effort in this class. If you haven’t checked this by the time I’m out of work tomorrow I plan on adding a poem or two.
But yeah, let’s get into it. So I know that Rhys gives us a sort of rationale behind Antoinette’s final moments within Wide Sargasso, and I fully accept that ending, but this is just a bit of revisionist history on my end. You see, I like when love wins in the end, and the only real way for that to happen in this book was for Antoinette to end up with Sandi. Which is kinda weird, right? Like, this book is so screwed up that I’m rooting for the half siblings to get to live happily ever after. What on earth does this book have me thinking. Anyway, as I was saying, This poem is about Antoinette hallucinating Sandi being with her in her final moments. I know it’s a kind of overplayed trope in a lot of media for a person to like see something moments before they die, and I felt this would be the only way I could envision putting a “happy” twist on it.
I guess the thought process is that, well she’s certainly not ever going to be happy with Rochester, and she’ll never get to leave and go be with Sandi. So if she could just hallucinate being with him for her final moments, that’s good enough for me. So in a way this is a bit of revisionist fanfic from my end I guess. I just want her to be happy, man.
Anyway, let’s talk about the poem itself. I intentionally reference Coco the bird and fire to keep it tied to this moment and to the themes about being a bird in cage and the whole rebirth through fire ordeal. I also include the specific details about the keys to ground this passage in that part of the story. I know this poem is so much more literal than most sonnets tend to be, but I wanted to preserve the narrative.
Continuing on, I also compare the cold of England to the warmth of the islands, as I thought it tied nicely into the fire analogy. Like obviously she might be drawn to fire, given she hates the English cold. It also helps to sort of show her wavering sense of reality, as the reality of the cold English manor fades and is replaced by the warm islands and her warm love I guess?
It’s also a bit of a nod to I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud, which I read for a blog post earlier. The notion of just sort of losing yourself and your sense of reality is something I noticed a lot in Wide Sargasso and its accompanying material, so I thought it was apt to include that. Yeah though, this is it I guess? I’m not particularly proud of it to be honest. For some decent writing, go check out my last few posts, or to scratch the Sargasso poetry itch check out Rose’s final project. Her work is incredible.