Thursday, June 28, 2012

Flaubert Finds His Madame On A Summer Afternoon

Leaves hang on the branch, lace-strewn
like a veil
shadowing her face.

No mist softens the sun.
Its light shines blatantly
on the wide acreage
of field and pond.

Deer have wandered down
to drink, lapping water
and the day's reflection.

They will never sense
her secretive guilt, the frayed glint
of hair fallen from its pins.

In this last hour, she disrobes

undoing her pewter buttons
like moments of routine. Boredom shed,
she succumbs to the moist breath
of wild jasmine and him.

In 1856, author, Gustave Flaubert, went on trial in Paris  for writing an evocative novel called Madame Bovary. His attempts to depict a woman bored with country life and marriage to an inept doctor were deemed immoral by a panel of government critics. His heroine finds solace in romantic dreams and  endeavors to live out her  fantasized passion through affairs with a young law  clerk and a rich landowner. Through Flaubert's eyes, Emma Bovary is not a femme fatale, but a victim of circumstance and desperate illusion. He portrays
his character with realistic detail and makes no moral comment about
her adulterous behavior. This poem implies how he possibly found the model or idea for his famous protagonist. Whether the author had an affair with such a woman in real life is left open to speculation and the reader's curiosity.

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