Friday, October 12, 2012

Ekphrasis on a Vanity Fair photo

I could not get the picture in the October Vanity Fair out of my mind. It showed Obama talking to his Security Council as well as VP Biden an Sec. of State Clinton.  We see a bit of Obama on the left, and a table with his advisers, mostly older than he. All the men have their hands over their mouths, the only face we see completely is Hillary Clinton with the most serious and dour expression I've seen in any photo in the last 15 years. This is the meeting at which Obama explained that they had enough information to send the Seals in to kill Bin Laden.  I was surprised a photographer was in the room, his name was not given in the article.  All the advisors knew the meeting was historic and anything they said would be in future books.  I wrote this ekphrasis yesterday afternoon when I was thinking of Shakespeare's kings, especially Prince Hal who, as King Henry, still had to deal with wars with the French despite his victory at Agincourt.


The Decision
 
Years ago he was the young king,
            The valiant hero who inspired the masses
            With hope of a finer reign, a more peaceful time
            Though he inherited a world wracked by his elders.
As years passed the worldly morass sucked him down,
            The de facto evil enemy lurked, hiding – where?
            The years dragged, until the time had come
            To thrill the populace who, forgetting revenge.
            blamed him for their personal miseries.
Assassination would finally right the balance, he thought.
            A hero needs a bloody corpse beneath his boot.
            The counselors came to hear the plan.
            Their fear of failure, their distrust of strategy
            They hid behind half-obscured faces.
Hands covered their tell tale mouths disguising uncertainty
            As thoughtfulness. They did not suggest capture.
            Only the queen mother stared openly, starkly challenging   
            Her face saying, Is this where our hopes have taken us?


2 comments:

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Oh how I liked "The Decision." Your words led me down the path of underlying emotions. Quite moving! -- barbara

June Calender said...

Thanks, Barbara. I wish I could inclulde the photo.