top of page

The ballad of Cotford St. Luke - Sophia Vahdati

For Juliet Crew and Oscar Wilde.

A nightmare creeps, so silently,

Blasphemously, it grows,

From a grave, sheltered by a tree,

And visited by crows,

Could there be light in such a place?

Is there a hope that glows?

She blinked, at peace, this sodden day

Would be her wretched last,

A final curtain on her pain,

A fuck-you to the cast,

She cared not for this dreadful stain,

Nor for the rotten past.

For she had not authored her play,

Nor directed a single scene,

But now, she’s an architect of her finale

Wrought from the obscene,

For not one soul who’d touched her flesh

Had left with their hands clean.

She bid farewell to her pet dog,

Her coat palomino and malting,

Then tied the rope to a wooden bannister

In the absence of more efficient scaffolding,

A frisson sparked across her eyes,

A shade of wrong and doubting.

The crack echoed throughout her house,

The dog began to bark,

More was broken than her neck,

The sky glitched and faded dark.

Is this the end of a beautiful mind?

Or is there still a spark?

If each man kills the one he loves,

The women are doomed to die,

Not by the sword of a wistful knight,

But from the torture of living a lie,

It is her fate to end the farce

And die by suicide.

They’ll rarely pull it off first time,

There is a chance to revert

The chaotic sink into unreality,

But it’s a lifetime’s work,

So hard to halt the fettered mind

That longs to end the hurt,

That chokes on words and broken bridges,

Blotchy faced, their reddened lips

Will scream out loud, softly beckoning

The vacuous crowd of an abyss,

They’ll not see another way out,

They’ll think death the only fix.

But a man can choose to stay his hand

To reflect upon his urge,

A woman can smoke her demons out,

They can perform a collective purge,

It may be difficult to live,

But lifeforce can still surge,

It is too late for my broken damsel

Whose ghost dances in fields,

Though many hold their lives in check,

There is a portion that yields,

The strong must offer up their hearts

To be the suffering’s shields.

Let this ballad be a war-cry

For those with battered hearts,

Do not give up on this cruel race,

Accept the many false starts,

For there are secrets in this place,

This puzzle has infinite parts.

This earth shakes an almighty rage

Each time a loved one cries,

Do not hate, do not profane,

Nor dare thyself despise,

There is a hope for those in pain,

Albeit in disguise.

Just do not ask me for its name,

Nor why it sometimes hides.


"This poem is based on the death of a friend and inspired by Oscar Wilde's 'The ballad of Reading Gaol'. Both Wilde and my friend died too soon and we're failed by the societies they lived in. I tried to find some light at the end of the tale, but it's often difficult to see it, even if I do believe it's there. 'It's a lifetime's work'."

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page