Fri, 10th Jan 2020

Iago, June 2019

Text by: 

George Ascalon

Photo by: 
Lana Graves on Unsplash

‘I am enter’d in this cause so far,

Prick’d to’t by foolish honesty and love’

- Othello, Act III, Scene 3

The pride of your heart was the same

Cloak of power as those gilded days,

When the Rialto’s shimmering haze

Glimmered on halberds, the horses striding high

And banners dancing in the blue, roaring sky.

Your eyes, the same wild onyx,

Flash the same sharp glare, the wild light

They had as when from the galley’s dark heaving

You ran, stumbling, onto the deck again

To turn and taste the cool rain, laughing.

Your jaw bears that strength and those caressing lips

That bowed beneath San Marco’s dome,

Mosaic visions through hot incense, and the organ’s moan

With the choir’s marble echoes when you knelt to press

Your kiss onto the silver crucifix,

Then held your helm for a signet-heavy hand to bless.

Your breastplate, the same tight, swelling red,

The same bright gold-crimson of Venice, as when

You ran through the bodies of your choking, dying men,

Thrust your sword through smoke, heard the trumpets cry

At the stones, and the slick, sodden fumblings of the dead.

Your head bears the same mane of deepened black,

Curved around your nape, as when you stood, proud,

Above the sparkling blue on harbour stone, your uniform a shroud

For desperation. You adjusted your cloak,

Silent in dignity at the quiet side of the crowd

Silent and alone; you dimmed those flaring eyes

Stopped the trembling of your hand with the hilt at your hip,

Watching your friend march to meet his fate, as you

Watched the General stepping from the ship.