Biographical Poetry posted June 1, 2023

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Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

Importance of Being Oscar Wilde

by Debbie D'Arcy

A man revered for his great wit,
he had great truths to tell.
In verse I hope to capture some
with justice done as well.
A Bon Viveur, a man of means,
he liked to be well-dressed.
He boasted he'd the simplest tastes
but always for the best!
He also claimed temptation was
a force that brought him down.
His life was an indulgency
that sparked his wide renown.
He liked himself it must be said,
'twas proven at first glance.
He even said to love oneself
would start a life's romance!
Impressive was his learning too
by which he set great store.
Possessing too much of this gift
would never fail, he swore.
In fact, when landing in New York
and questioned without fuss,
he said he'd nothing to declare
except his genius!
But then his downfall took its toll;
his gayness was a crime!
To Reading Gaol he would be sent
to serve two years of time.
 Perhaps his quote so pertinent
as victim of this hunt:
he claimed with some sad ire that true
friends stab you in the front.
For prison was a bitter blow;
same hour each day he'd cry.
He'd  look with wistful eye upon
that "tent of blue" called sky.
And later forced to live abroad,
his wealth and fame to cease,
He charmed with fearless words of death
And yearned to be at peace.
He urged those scars in life be seen
Through optimistic eyes -
"What seems to us as bitter trials
Oft blessings in disguise." *

Post Number 50
A Milestone Post


Apologies to Mr Wilde for my poor paraphrasing!

Quotes: stanza 2 - "I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the
stanza 3 -"I can resist everything except temptation."
stanza 4 - "To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance."
stanza 5 - "You can never be overdressed or over-educated."
stanza 6 - "I have nothing to declare except my genius."
stanza 8 - "True friends stab you in the front."
stanza 9 - "...I wept every day at the same hour and for the
same space of time."
"I never saw a man who looked/With such a wistful eye/Upon
that little tent of blue/Which prisoners call the sky."
stanza 10 - On death -"To have no yesterday and no tomorrow. To
forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace." (He considered death as part
of life, simply to be a transition to another realm)
stanza 11 - A man who found great love in life and had such wisdom for
forgiveness and truth: - *"What seems to us as bitter trials are often
blessings in disguise" (apologies for my misquote above).
"Between the optimist and the pessimist,
The difference is droll.
The optimist sees the doughnut;
The pessimist the hole."

Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin on 16 October 1854. He became an iconic 19th century poet and playwright well- known for his only novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), his plays (e.g. The Importance of Being Earnest) and his poetry. He became widely acclaimed for his wit whilst attending Oxford University and went on to become an advocate of Aestheticism (art for art's sake) which was simultaneously being decried as an unmasculine devotion to art. When he toured the US, expounding on this new movement, although subjected to widespread hostility in the press for his flamboyance, he went on to achieve recognition there for his impassioned beliefs.

Despite being happily married, at the peak of his career in 1891 he began an intimate relationship with the young Lord Alfred Douglas, son of the Marquess of Queensbury who subsequently accused Wilde of sodomy. Despite Wilde's impressive resistance by counter-suing for libel, he was given a custodial sentence and served 2 years at Reading Gaol where his health deteriorated.

On release, Wilde's friends urged him to go to France where homosexuality had been decriminalized as part of the French Revolution. He spent the remaining 3 years of his life roaming Europe under a pseudonym and died, penniless, from acute Meningitis at a hotel in Paris in 1900. In the final moments before his death he was received into the Roman Catholic Church which he had long admired.

Notably, many of his works had concerned the exposure of secret sin and indiscretion with disgraceful consequences.

"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much."
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