Written and read by Artemis
Such a voice as mine that trembles to be heard,
In frantic-weeped strips of breathful shudders.
Justice intended from my lips to those who are good known,
Tripped away into desperate calls for a womanly heart.
Marital-bed I was stolen to, now stolen away, as I,
As I witness a pitted loss to life.
Bear him well to the grave I ought to be gifted.
I crave in full longing the silence of my end.
A fruitful offering to a less-than lived life.
Sorrow bore me into piteous woe for brothers lost-
Now let me greet them in that tomb.
Yet pleas for kind heart, for men to be better than that milk of
Cruel breast they suckled in wickedness from, are thrust away.
Such desperation for silence birthed into vying screams, then silence comes from my lips, but ne'er my life.
Then haggard to the world I return, born again,
A hollowed wreck sodden.
And no tongue to speak my worn words of Philomela become.
Savage wild grounds I wander to no refuge of bloody self.
Till I see a face adorned with a love I weep in seeing, shamed face turning to the side.
Rare noise is ravaged out, woefully pushed forth-
I want to talk. Cry. I try but I have only desperate noise.
No words to speak, nor words to put down.
In stifled sounding I maketh my mark of grief of self,
Of those I am told my state wounds so deep.
Salt and blood beaten into a blend of aching overthrow
Love is supposed in tender touches as I fight to comprehend.
Yearning in a caged battle to speak.
Jabs of pained sighs to tell you, constrained throat of loss begging you to understand.
My truths you act to know as you speak them countless-
Never caring that it strangles me to hear. To live again and again in those moments of fear, the marks of which stain my mind and stumps and mouth still and you have all the words and you have all the power but you do not understand.
Silence crowns me thorny-
Empress to mine own grief.
Silence forced but I struggle forth. Restless.
Drowning girl still breathing as you curse her under with unkind hands, I wrench myself upwards.
A book opens. A page turns.
Words traced upon soft sand - silence me you never shall.
I am that bystander of silent martyrdom.
And you pity me but mark me in my grief still.
And I am bruised, crying for words though I have none, but still
I am a statue-made in the corner to wrangle justice and
Grieve you further.
And I go. I fall silent to the ground in a fatal weep.
Begged and sought for so long ago and now gifted after tired months of sainted-suffering.
The world gave me no words. I witnessed through lamented eyes, desperate to mark where I could.
Love, so still I did, but the world an object claimed me.
I am your waking grief.
But though I speak no words, I am a woman still, and I am still a self.
What inspired the poem?
It was actually reading the role of Lavinia in Titus Andronicus that inspired this poem. It was one of those roles where you put a lot of your heart and emotion into it, and you get a lot from it, even if you hadn't expected that going in. Making the choice to continue making the presence of Lavinia felt even after she had lost her voice and this being an audio format is something that taught me to really inhabit the thought and emotion of this character as she dealt with her initial trauma, and the effects of her life and the way she was treated and used by the Andronici family following. There's a lot of thoughts I have, and I tried to pen some of them down quickly following the reading in this poem, though there's still so much I have to say on a character who is not given that chance.