Oh, such an enticing pose, sir, in which to be found!
Aye, the wicked thoughts that stir within me abound
Your appearance is a sight to be seen only under a moon
Yet it is within El Sol’s domain you chose to make opportune
Your countenance cool, yet your eyes smolder
Such is the shocking lure of temptation I shoulder
Scandalous man! How you lay there, your shirt askew
Putting a shameful want to me of many things, tis true
But know me well, you do, mon cher, I am no shirking flower
I dare take up your gauntlet cast, in light of this noon’s power
From your vantage point I know you see, I will not be damned
To waste a voyage on a vessel that is so fully manned
For it’s my turn to taunt sweet incubus, to shake your calm repose
And doth dare you to match me now in shunning of your clothes
This little romp started with the above photo of actor Rupert Graves which inspired the first two lines cheekily expressing my thoughts of the pose. Because my mind is never far from the sewer, Muse then imagined an equally period piece attired lover entering the room and being greeted thusly. The rest of the poem is is what followed from that male lover’s point of view. I know my brain chose a male lover for the sheer scandal of it given the time assumed in the by the clothing, my love of Mystrade fanfiction, and Graves’ slight affection of period pieces.
A google image search then revealed that the photo is a still from a 2005 BBC TV movie “A Waste of Shame.” I had not heard of, let alone seen the movie, but I thought it a perfect title for the utter shamelessness of the poem and used it.
It was two days later when I posted the photo and poem in one of my writing groups, that I was reminded of Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 129: Th’expense of spirit in a waste of shame.” I know I had read the sonnet, but that ages – as in 30+ years – ago and had forgotten about it. Having read Shakespeare’s sonnets in high school in the late 70s-early 80s, where such context most certainly was not discussed, I was not aware of William Shakespeare’s rumored fluid sexuality; nor the mini scandal Sonnet 129 evoked as being perceived to perhaps incite homosexuality. The sonnet was certainly not a thought in my mind when I imagined the male lover walking in on this delightful tableau.
In the classic cases of “too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence” and “the universe is rarely that lazy”, I looked up the movie in IMDB. It turns out the full name of the movie is “A Waste of Shame: The Mystery of Shakespeare and His Sonnets.” A movie, which going by the summaries, with Graves in the titular role, hints at that sexual ambiguity along with what and who inspired his some of his more famous/infamous sonnets.
So it turns out Muse and I was not far off after all.