The Beauty and Shame of Byron

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Sometimes I sit and think of Lord Byron—
Charismatic and bi-polar,
So insecure about his beauty
He wore curling papers in his hair at night.
 
Numerous were the women that he bedded,
More than a few men as well.
For days he would only eat dry biscuits, drink white wine,
Then gorge himself on full dinner
Followed later by a purge.
 
He kept a flock of pet geese, befriended them,
Gave them freedom of his house,
Knowing that one day they would be his dinner.
Yes, poor Byron was quite the winner.
 
And then to boot, his right leg was club foot,
Which appealed to sympathetic women,
Not to mention men….   But the intensity of his pen—
Poetry poured out upon the page for every age.
 
He fled his native country when accused—
Incest, sodomy, adultery, pederasty….
Was mad, bad, and dangerous to know.
He wrote his autobiography,
Which after he died friends read and burned.
In flames— so much mystery preserved….
 
He died in Greece while fighting for its freedom,
Bled to death by doctors in attempt to save him.
A hero to the Greek, they kept his heart,
Returned his body to England for the final fight,
Westminster Abbey would not receive him for moral reasons.
 
It took 145 years for the Abbey to allow a plaque
Placed in Poet’s Corner in memory of his name.
Oh, the shame, the lasting shame—
Yet who among us has swum the Hellespont,
Written fourteen volumes of love poetry—
This destructive man was vain,
And yet what large heart and enormous pain….
First modern celebrity, dead at thirty-six.

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2 thoughts on “The Beauty and Shame of Byron

  1. There is something more muscular and less bound in the language of this poem than many of yours. It is a new voice that resonates with the old one but is kinder and more direct.

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