By Victor Howes
Dear Mr. Sophocles, we send your play
Back with regrets. It does not meet our needs.
We want more up-beat songs, more comedy.
We quite approved your hero’s early deeds —
Surviving a death sentence, answering
The Spinx’s riddle, liberating Thebes,
But when it comes to murdering a king,
That bogs the plot down mightily. Delibes,
Debussy, Mozart, are more to our taste.
And then, there’s incest. We don’t frown on sex,
But sons and mothers, really, what a waste
Of your dramatic talent. It just wrecks
Your Oedipus for us. More song, more dance,
A younger chorus-line, and more romance.
From Thoughts after Spenser by Victor Howes. Cambridge: Harvard Book Store, 2016. Copyright © Victor Howes.