dVerse — Poetics — The Death of Dolores Haze

nabakov headstone for dverse poem

That summer when sweet dew was on the rose
she danced and played along the merry lane
while mother hummed a tune and hung the clothes.
Yet ill winds soon would spin the weather vane.

A stranger from Bigtown, in fancy clothes,
arrived and said he’d traveled on the train.
Slack-jawed and bug-eyed, looked just like a toad.
His coin purse jangled; oh, could he retain

a man to portage trunks to Pleasant Row?
Her father, with six mouths to feed, said yea.
In guileless joy jumped on the cart, unknown
that darkness preyed upon another’s brain.

Next morning’s dawn bloomed pink with eerie glow
as father said the man did need a maid
and after feeding wee ones she should go
to Pleasant Row to serve “the toad” all day.

As dusk began to dust the day’s rainbows
A clumping ‘crost the porch spurred a refrain,
I wonder with her coins how many loaves?”
Until they saw her stooped and crumpled frame.

How many times have “Lolitas” been portrayed as devious temptresses to the poor predator who just can’t help himself?  I decided to tell the truth of the matter of how many youngsters, male and female, have their souls detached at best or extinguished at most at the hands of evil.  Death comes in many forms.  As Dolores went to bed that night, she was already a corpse.

The following song is written by Chester Bennington of Linkin Park.  Chester ended his own life in 2017.  He was a victim of childhood sexual abuse.  Although the victim in the video is portrayed as female, I have got to wonder if Chester was writing about his own childhood experience.

unedited headstone image was found here
My title is a nod to Bob Dylan’s song, The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll.
Nabokov’s novel, “Lolita,” was published in 1955.  Lolita was twelve years old.

Laura is today’s host at dVerse’ Poetics.  Laura says:

….Select ONE phrase from these famous departing words

  • All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain” -Roy Batty, Blade Runner
  • My battery is low and it’s getting dark” – Mars rover ‘Opportunity’
  • A certain butterfly is already on the wing.” Vladimir Nabokov
  • I must go in for the fog is rising” Emily Dickinson
  • Ah! The times were good! It was I who was so unhappy”. Sophie Arnould, French operatic soprano
  • My anchor is well cast, and my ship, though weather-beaten, will outride the storm” Samuel Hopkins, theologian
  • “Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.” Karl Marx

Then using your chosen phrase:-

  • Write a  ‘deathbed’ poem of your own imagination (time and place optional!)
  • It does not have to pertain to the author of your chosen words but can do
  • You could include backstory, personality, remembrances, other people present
  • Make it sad, funny, sudden, expected, personal or remote
  • read Billy Collins’ “Deathbeds” poem – it sets all sorts of scenes

Your poem may take any form and that includes a prose poem

OR (for those who like an extra challenge)

Write in elegiac stanzas i.e quatrains with the rhyme scheme ABAB written in iambic pentameter.

N.B Remember to cite the author of those last words if you use it within your poem or as title. Alternately you could cite it as epigraph

31 Comments Add yours

  1. Grace says:

    A dreadful ending. What a cost to getting all of those coins. We are quickly beguiled but for some, it’s enough to feed a family. Kudos to you for getting this even with a poetry form.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Grace, thank you for reading and your thoughtful comment.

      Like

  2. calmkate says:

    ouch no doubt the song comes from deep within his own experience … this is the most destructive form of abuse. This is how addictions and sex work begins, in self disgust they become oblivious to what they do to their bodies …

    powerful poem and social comment Lisa, kudos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Kate, thank you for reading and your sensitive comment ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. calmkate says:

        it’s a field I worked in for years … then picked up the aftermath in other jobs 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Paula Light says:

    I read the book. It’s hideous the way the little girl is portrayed, when the entirety of the fault is on the older man…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Paula I didn’t read the book but I saw part of the movie and the actress in it did NOT look 12. I’m sick of the campaign of abuse visited upon women and young children and the lack of institutional accountability for the perpetrators.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Paula Light says:

        Right. They had to make her older for the movie, which took away the main focus of a man preying on a child, not a “sexy” older teen

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Sadje says:

    Such a heartbreaking story Li.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. memadtwo says:

    I’m tired of men being unable to control themselves. Well said. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Kerfe, thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. seanatbogie says:

    This is such a distressing subject. You do it justice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you very much.

      Like

  7. kittysverses says:

    This breaks the heart, Li. Well written. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Kitty, thank you very much. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. kittysverses says:

        You are welcome, Li. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Rob Kistner says:

    This is horrid and sad, but you expressed it well Lisa.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Rob, thank you.

      Like

  9. Raivenne says:

    Your heartbreaking write alone was enough to touch a nerve, I needed to step back from. Then you bring up “Lolita.” I was a teen when I read the book after seeing the 1960s movie and was taken aback that no one seemed/wanted to get that this was a grown man raping a young girl. I refused to watch the 90s version. I learned of Sally Horner, the story “Lolita” was based on in the early 2000s.

    When I saw the still of the Linkin Park video and knew the song without need the title/caption. I once wrote a blog post on how I was introduced to Linkin Park via the video “Crawling” and how the passion of Chester’s vocals seared through me. I did not write it in the post, but the lyrics are what really tore me apart and though I did not know about his abuse at the time – I just knew those lyrics came from someone who like me “knew”.

    Your words struck home to the truth of the real ‘Lolitas’ in the world -especially the Horner-s and Bennington-s who couldn’t live with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Raivenne, I appreciate you sharing the information that Sally Horner is who Lolita in the book. I didn’t know, the name I used was the name she had in the book. I will definitely be researching Sally now that I know it is her story. I’m glad you “got” what I was going for with the post. Thank you for your knowledge and your empathy.

      Like

  10. you tell the narrative so poignantly and in rhyme too – from that wonderful opening to the dark deed

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Laura, thank you very much.

      Like

  11. Dale says:

    Wow. You took that line and ran with it. I did read it, I dunno 10 years ago? Never saw the movie. It’s disgusting how the “blame” of being a young temptress can be put on a child of 12… Brilliant work, Lisa.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Dale, thank you for reading and your thoughtful comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dale says:

        You are most welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. sanaarizvi says:

    This is brilliantly and sensitively written, Lisa.. sigh ..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Sanaa, thank you.

      Like

  13. Badfinger (Max) says:

    Most of the ones I’ve watched….do look older like you said.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I had read Lolita when I was in college….could never bring myself to watch the movies. There are hundreds of Lolitas who die here everyday that it is sickening. Li, thank you for writing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Oh, Punam, my heart hurts to think of it. You are very welcome ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

      Like

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