Neil Hester

All poems © Neil Hester unless otherwritten

Location: North Carolina, United States

Monday, August 01, 2011

Ballet: The Deaths of Romeo and Juliet

Hey folks!

In London, I went and saw the ballet Romeo and Juliet at the London Coliseum. The performance was absolutely incredible and left me very emotionally raw. Prokofiev's beautiful, beautiful ballet was well-matched by the choreography and dance of Ashton and his company, as well as a very talented pit.

Romeo and Juliet, as a story, translates very well to ballet. The end, in particular, was completely wrenching and saddening. Afterwards, I went straight back to the hostel and wrote this:


Ballet: The Deaths of Romeo and Juliet
            ~Sergei Prokofiev, Sir Frederick Ashton

He lays his hand on her quiet wrist;
his pulse redoubles at her lack.
He slips his arms beneath her back
and dead-living legs, which twist
at each awful turn he gives with hands
wanting for warmth. Romeo stands
and drinks the death of two.

Juliet wakes and dances true
to his side. Her hands upon his chest—
one, then both are breathless.
She leaps across his loveliness,
touches the edge of sharpened rest,
and, with a cry and pirouette,
plunges into her last duet.


Writing this was very self-fulfilling, and helped me feel as if I almost "gave back" to the show, if such can be done. It's also great to pull together many art forms—play gives rise to music, gives rise to dance, gives rise to poetry. Wonderful. And, for me personally, the poem commemorates a great experience. Forget quality—that's worth something on its own.

Take care,