The souls of all my tribe defend from jealousy

With a kind of dim accuracy,
dull estimation of an
uncomfortable situation 
to the victim’s eyes, jealousy
is not a green-ey’d monster
but a super-subtle friend

The victim continues with a smile
of painted mirth;
the mind gives birth to wild imaginings
which may/may not be true
it hardly matters now:
The matrix has you.

Crossing canyons subsumed by 
solitudes, wish for 
spiritual songs to heal your heart:
to heal this jealousy, this torment
for we’re not ever jealous for the cause
but jealous for we’re jealous
.

Shun Iago’s subtle poison which
he would pour in your ear, just
run: there is no cause, or if there is a cause
it should be simply to save your own life,
in realising your own worth, for jealousy’s
an ignominious end: a living death.

About this poem

I wrote this poem for dVerse Poetics: The charms of Samuel Greenberg. Our host, Laura Bloomsbury, introduced the poems of Samuel Greenberg, an important American poet of the early twentieth century who died tragically young and unknown. His work was later pilfered/plagiarised by Hart Crane.

In the poem ‘The Pale Impromptu,’ Laura describes the two-word phrases which feature in the poem as charms strung on a charm bracelet. She then presented us with the following challenge:

Your challenge is to take FIVE (no more or less) from these 21 ‘charms’ and string them together in a poem with style and word length of your choosing:

Dim Accuracy; Candle salve; Consumed moon;
Eyes jealousy; Fouls deviation; Grey life;  
Hearts brow; Lucid farrows; Nulling marrows;
Painted mirth; Pale heat; Palmed rose;
Pearls from tissue; Pellucid quest; Royal flesh;
Skulls of saints; Slime pigments; Spiritual songs;
Solitudes wish; Times chant; Yellow dreams;

At first, I was uncomfortable with pilfering another poet’s words. But the phrase ‘Eyes jealousy’ got me thinking about Iago and so I went on to do a double pilfer, from both Greenberg and Shakespeare. All of the highlighted words are either one of the five ‘charms’ listed above, or lines from Othello (albeit adapted to fit the story I am telling here).

Othello quotes adapted for this poem

‘O beware, my lord, of jealousy!/It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock/The meat it feeds on.’ 3.3.167-169

‘a frail vow betwixt an erring Barbarian and a super-subtle Venetian,’ 1.3.356-358

‘They are not ever jealous for the cause, But jealous for they’re jealous.’ 3.4.160-161

‘Good God, the souls of all my tribe defend/From jealousy.’ 3.3.178-179

20 thoughts on “The souls of all my tribe defend from jealousy

Add yours

  1. That was ambitious, Ingrid, blending Shakespeare and Greenberg, and you pulled it off in this exploration of the ‘green-ey’d monster’. I love the internal rhyming in:
    ‘The victim continues with a smile
    of painted mirth;
    the mind gives birth to wild imaginings
    which may/may not be true’
    and
    ‘Shun Iago’s subtle poison which
    he would pour in your ear, just
    run’.

  2. Bravo Ingrid – the quotations are great starting points for your poem – (loved the quote from The Matrix too – ha) – a great post-modern piece – deconstructing texts and then finding something new in the lines.

  3. wow amazingly masterful blend of the three, the green eyed monster is indeed poison … it eats one from the inside out! This is really impressive writing Ingrid.

  4. Yes, Greenberg meets Shakespeare meets… the Matrix, very imaginative and successful usage of the prompt, I feel. And the reference to Iago’s subtle poison is so relevant to today; I am left with a sense of unease — we could all do with spiritual healing right now; I sense it is on its way… Well done.

  5. Sometimes it just needs one word to set the creative juices flowing – yours by association with Iago and what an ode to jealousy and the havoc that ensues
    “The victim continues with a smile
    of painted mirth;
    the mind gives birth to wild imaginings”

    Indeed!
    p.s. we do not pilfer if we give credit and barely re-use and though it is no excuse, without Crane’s plagiarism we might never have heard of Samuel Greenberg or read his legacy of writings.(Hart Crane & Samuel Greenberg

  6. I find this piece mesmerizing, Ingrid. I like the circling, the metaphors, and how this piece speaks to me.

    “Crossing canyons subsumed by
    solitudes, wish for
    spiritual songs to heal your heart:
    to heal this jealousy, this torment
    for we’re not ever jealous for the cause
    but jealous for we’re jealous.”

    Excellent work.

  7. How mesmerizing and haunting, these lines especially:

    “Shun Iago’s subtle poison which
    he would pour in your ear, just
    run: there is no cause, or if there is a cause
    it should be simply to save your own life…”

    WOW. <3 <3 How riveting each word is, and how it flows so smoothly… It's amazing, all of it. Stunning work.

  8. Wow, wow, wow! This is such an incredibly ambitious poem, Ingrid! 💝 I love; “Shun Iago’s subtle poison which
    he would pour in your ear, just run: there is no cause, or if there is a cause it should be simply to save your own life, in realising your own worth.” Kudos! 😀

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