Poems of the Week

Opera: A Ballade

by Barbara Loots

After watching 33 free streamed operas from the Met during quarantine

Sometimes the heroine is just a girl,
an innocent set up to be betrayed.
Whether she loves a hero or a churl,
she’ll face a three- or four-hour escapade
in which her feelings and her fate are swayed
by charm, by force, deception, or disguise
she’s helpless to resist or to evade.
And then she dies.

Sometimes around the heroine unfurl
fate’s sinister entrapments. Undismayed,
she feels the storm of accusation swirl
and knows the price of honor must be paid.
Beset by Powers That Must Be Obeyed,
she suffers while the chorus vilifies.
Her hopes of justice and redemption fade.
And then she dies.

Sometimes the heroine, a perfect pearl,
whether a princess or a village maid,
regardless of her protest or demurral,
becomes the object of an evil trade,
a bloody game, a sinister charade,
with hidden motives and transparent lies,
with clash of insult and with flashing blade.
And then she dies.

Through every lamentation and tirade,
each heroine embraces her demise
despite how fervently she may have prayed.
And then…