Salomé: Every Man’s Nightmare

First of all, let me just share my sheer enthusiasm and joy. I bought my own Domain! Yippie! No more “itsavogueworld.wordpress.com”, nope!  Now it is “itsavogueworld.com”. Its like my blog is growing up. Ah, so proud. So now that I have shared me excitement with you, let me actually talk about this video.

We recently discussed Carol Ann Duffy’s poem Salomé in class, and the reason that I’m sharing this with you all is because I felt a magnetic pull to it. Its difficult to explain, let me try:

 Salome represents dangerous female seductiveness. The story of Salome comes from the Bible, and it goes that on her stepfather´s birthday Salome was asked to dance for her parents. Impressed with her performance, her stepfather granted her a wish. Salome asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. 

Hence the poem “Salome” by Duffy. She used the original story of Salome as a palimpsest-  created her own story on top. Salome is the modern girl. She parties, she has sex, and she smokes- and we condemn her for it. Oh, and she has murderous tendencies. No big deal.

This video is inspired by Duffy´s poem:

After discussing this is class I began noticing how all the words rhyme with “platter”. As you read the poem the words speed up and the tension heightens. The plosive sounds create the effect of drops of blood, so once you come to the end of the poem you are lying in a pool of blood; death is all around. I sound morbid, but this really intrigues me. It is amazing how just the sound of a word can make your skin crawl, how the implications that lie behind are dark and (in this case) almost rotten. Here is a painting by Onorio Marinari:

salome-with-the-head-of-saint-john-the-baptist-onorio-marinari

Salome by Carol Ann Duffy

I’d done it before
(and doubtless I’ll do it again,
sooner or later)
woe up with a head on the pillow beside me – whose? –
what did it matter?
Good-looking, of course, dark hair, rather matted;
the reddish beard several shades lighter;
with very deep lines round the eyes,
from pain, I’d guess, maybe laughter;
and a beautiful crimson mouth that obviously knew
how to flatter . . .
which I kissed . . .
Colder than pewter.

Strange. What was his name? Peter?
Simon? Andrew? John? I knew I’d feel better
for tea, dry toast, no butter,
so rang for the maid.
And, indeed, her innocent clatter
of cups and plates,
her clearing of clutter,
her regional patter,
were just what I needed –
hungover and wrecked as I was from a night on the batter.

Never again!
I needed to clean up my act,
get fitter.
Cut out the booze and the fags and the sex.
Yes. And as for the latter,
it was time to turf out the blighter,
the beater or biter,
who’d come like a lamb to the slaughter
to Salome’s bed.

In the mirror, I saw my eyes glitter.
I flung back the sticky red sheets,
and there, like I said – and ain’t life a bitch –
was his head on a platter.

My favorite line in this poem is “Who’d come like a lamb to the slaughter/ to Salome´s bed”.

By Andrea Solari (1460-1524).

19530-salome-with-the-head-of-st-john-the-andrea-solari

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