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Transcript of Mrs Midas
Named after all the cloth of gold used in clothes and tents by the kings to outshine each other. Sharon Macready, a character in "The Champions" (1960s T.V. spy drama)
Played by Alexandra Bastedo, known for her golden hair One of the most well-preserved tombs of Ancient Egypt, belonging to King Tutankhamun, a relatively minor pharaoh
The tombs of Egypt's pharaohs' were notable in their opulence and golden decor Fondante d'Automne Clarifications A type of pear ripe in September-October
"Melting of the Autumn" in French Fairy lights UK: Electrically powered Christmas lights The music of Pan Pan in Greek mythology: God of the wild, nature, shepherds, hunting and rustic music Differences Abound The Poem and the Story Setting (Modern Day) Lightbulbs
The Field of the Cloth of Gold
The phone Smoking
The tomb of Tutankhamun
Car The toilet Characters No daughter
No direct divine wish
Mention of Pan Setting (England) Fairy lights Other details Pears instead of roses
Exile instead of redemption Midas is never released from his golden touch in the poem, whereas the original myth had a generally happy ending. Instead, he spends the remainder of his days isolated in a forest, going mad, as his wife pines for him between the occasional ever decreasing visits. Mood As we see the sad and lonely perspective of Midas's wife, and the unresolved golden touch, this poem is generally sad. "I miss most, even now, his hands, his warm hands on my skin, his touch." However, it is also reminiscent, as Mrs. Midas is looking into a more pleasant past, and has some slight reproach when she considers her husband's thoughtless actions. "What gets me now is not the idiocy or greed but the lack of thought for me. Pure selfishness." Note: Though the story is set in the present, Mrs. Midas is looking back in time to the events. Imagery Gold "...that twig in his hand was gold."
"...[the pear] sat in his palm like a lightbulb."
"Is he putting fairy lights in the tree?"
"The doorknobs gleamed."
"I thought of the Field of the Cloth of Gold and of Miss Macready."
"...like a king on a burnished throne."
"...he was spitting out the teeth of the rich."
"...glass, goblet, golden chalice..."
"...the tomb of Tutankhamun."
"...the kiss that would turn my lips into a work of art."
"...a heart of gold."
"...[the baby's] perfect ore limbs, its tongue like a precious latch, its amber eyes..."
"Golden trout on the grass."
"...a beautiful lemon mistake."
"...his footprints, glistening..." "...blue flame played on [the cigarette's] luteous stem." Touch "...my fingers wiped the other's glass..."
"...that twig in his hand was gold..."
"...[the pear] sat in his palm like a lightbulb."
"He toyed with his spoon..."
"I poured with a shaking hand..."
"...keep his hands to himself."
"But now I feared his honeyed embrace..."
"...amber eyes holding their pupils like flies."
"I miss most, even now, his hands, his warm hands on my skin, his touch." Writer's Style Between this poem and several others, including "Mrs. Aesop" and "Standing Female Nude," one may notice what seem to be some of Carol Ann Duffy's common features, notably: Lack of quotation marks or other distinctive punctuation when dealing with speech or thought
Stanzas with a fixed number of lines
Lines with relatively similar lengths
A gritty, disillusioned narrative
Sexual references or descriptions It was late September. I'd just poured a glass of wine, begun
to unwind, while the vegetables cooked. The kitchen
filled with the smell of itself, relaxed, its steamy breath
gently blanching the windows. So I opened one,
then with my fingers wiped the other's glass like a brow.
He was standing under the pear tree snapping a twig.
Now the garden was long and the visibility poor, the way
the dark of the ground seems to drink the light of the sky,
but that twig in his hand was gold. And then he plucked
a pear from a branch - we grew Fondante d'Automne -
and it sat in his palm like a light bulb. On.
I thought to myself, Is he putting fairy lights in the tree?
He came into the house. The doorknobs gleamed.
He drew the blinds. You know the mind; I thought of
the Field of the Cloth of Gold and of Miss Macready.
He sat in that chair like a king on a burnished throne.
The look on his face was strange, wild, vain. I said,
What in the name of God is going on? He started to laugh.
I served up the meal. For starters, corn on the cob.
Within seconds he was spitting out the teeth of the rich.
He toyed with his spoon, then mine, then with the knives, the forks.
He asked where was the wine. I poured with shaking hand,
a fragrent, bone-dry white from Italy, then watched
as he picked up the glass, goblet, golden chalice, drank.
It was then that I started to scream. He sank to his knees.
After we had both calmed down, I finished the wine
on my own, hearing him out. I made him sit
on the other side of the room and keep his hands to himself.
I locked the cat in the cellar. I moved the phone.
The toilet I didn't mind. I couldn't believe my ears:
how he'd had a wish. Look, we all have wishes; granted.
But who has wishes granted? Him. Do you know about gold?
It feeds no one; aurum, soft, untarnishable; slakes
no thirst. He tried to light a cigarette; I gazed, entranced,
as the blue flame played on its luteous stem. At least,
I said, you'll be able to give up smoking for good.
Seperate beds. In fact, I put a chair against my door,
near petrified. He was below, turning the spare room
into the tomb of Tutankhamun. You see, we were passionate then,
in those halcyon days; unwrapping each other, rapidly,
like presents, fast food. But now I feared his honeyed embrace,
the kiss that would turn my lips to a work of art.
And who, when it comes to the crunch, can live
with a heart of gold? That night, I dreamt I bore
his child, its perfect ore limbs, its little tongue
like a precious latch, its amber eyes
holding their pupils like flies. My dream-milk
burned in my breasts. I woke to the streaming sun.
So he had to move out. We'd a caravan
in the wilds, in a glade of its own. I drove him up
under cover of dark. He sat in the back.
And then I came home, the women who married the fool
who wished for gold. At first I visited, odd times,
parking the car a good way off, then walking.
You knew you were getting close. Golden trout
on the grass. One day, a hare hung from a larch,
a beautiful lemon mistake. And then his footprints,
glistening next to the river's path. He was thin,
delirious; hearing, he said, the music of Pan
from the woods. Listen. That was the last straw.
What gets me now is not the idiocy or greed
but lack of thought for me. Pure selfishness. I sold
the contents of the house and came down here.
I think of him in certain lights, dawn, late afternoon,
and once a bowl of apples stopped me dead. I miss most,
even now, his hands, his warm hands on my skin, his touch. Mrs Midas A good deal of playing with lighting, especially going from light to dark.
Even the fact that it is September, and the "Fondante d'Automne," the melting of fall, seems to tie in with this; time passing from brighter, warmer days, to colder.
This continues throughout. Strong parallels to the original myth.
Midas was a king, was vain in his wish, and was given the gift by a god. Seems to directly address audience;
A causal, "You know how it is," attitude. Casual, typical actions.
Stark contrast. Very calm, peaceful actions. Actions are not seperated by "ands," merely a continuous stream of actions and objects which add to her confusion. Dark humor, ironic. Interesting juxtaposition; gold and its description with lamentations on hunger and thirst. A play on words, creating different sentences with similar or identical words. Contrast, between pleasant presents and messy fast foods. However, both fast actions, one of desire and one of hunger. Play on words: to have a heart of gold is to be kind and helpful, in contrast to Mr Midas's thoughtless, selfish wish Even the warmth is symbolic of the times past, the faded light, and the changing of seasons. She feels shamed. Even literally. Pleasant descriptions, but nostalgic. Dead mummy in a tomb of gold. Does not wish discovery, or risk of getting trapped there. Also could be symbolic of the personal distance as well. Separation between his world and the outside. Sunlight, golden colors in the sky Irony: he wishes to improve his touch, but she misses the original more. In gaining one, he loses the other. Mrs Midas appears confused, uncertain. She realizes and is shocked and scared. Semi-internal rhymes: the rounder "ore" sounds contrast with the sharper "eyes" sounds. The rhymes give assonance and make the dream flow smoother, though the "eyes" sounds are sharp and come disturbing in imagery. The black pupils would seem to be the only feature defining this baby as truly alive. Their placement in the middle of all the gold would be shocking and disturbing. His own world, distant. Consonance gives the sizzling impression of the sharp light. Contrast, almost oxymoronic. She does not think of the fact he wished for gold but that he can no longer hold her. Short sentences are quick actions, hurried and chaotic. Distance begins. Can he even eat? Ambiguity: Possibly relation to pears, biblical significance, or irrelevant. One may immediately know this is a poem discussing King Midas of mythology, and likely the most propagated of his related myths: the Golden Touch. Also, this is from a female perspective undiscussed in the typical mythology. The Poem Significance: Apart from solely being another take on an old myth, this poem can also reflect a modern tragic romance. With wealth, a member of the couple could become distracted or distant. Wealth is not the only catalyst; the disjointment could come from any change or new interest. Their partner is then left longing for the days prior to the change, feeling lonely and missing "those halycon days."