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“Escape From Château d’if” Poem with audio, written and read by Stephen J. Dawson Jr.

Escape From Château d’if by Stephen J. Dawson Jr.

Six years I’d spend in Château d’if
I built it in my room
I felt it safe as my motif
As comfortable as the womb

I sculpted myself as a Byronic
A hero that became my mask
And, true to form, as histrionic
The burden of the lie was quite a task

In solitude, I was at peace
Though I haven’t seen the skies
The sanity was more than brief
And I took solace in my guise

Though soon after I wished to escape
From brevity lost came along to free
From this miasma, this hellscape
That I crafted with such naÏveté

I was Edmond Dantès without the Count
No Monte Cristo that I could feign
But I foolishly toiled o’er soil and mount
‘Til the peak I now saw was vain

Without a muse or my heart’s own Mércèdes
I’d likely die nameless, in fact, I did know it
Those giants I worshipped would mock and say, “he’s
Not worth a footnote in the book of great poets.”

Still, I tunnelled a maze but met not a priest
I was alone in my world searching for light
The tunnels stayed dark, for here lurked beast
I, myself, was unfair. Dare I say? I was right

So, onward I dug with relentless continue
No matter the times that were bleak
With hand, with weakening bone and sinew
I swore to find sky I sought and still seek

I imagined the warmth of my belovèd
And wrote some last words to give Cher Ami
A pigeon I found though it looked more dovèd
Was to carry a message that read like a plea

“Help me,” I scrawled down with a whimper in tone
Just one final request with faith no more
The words were not Dantès’ but rather my own
Though written in vain, I prayed he would soar

I found the sky after years without fruit
The labour was all I could summon
I sent mon ami in a likely pursuit
Of futile flight to redeem a curmudgeon

The Château d’if that stole all of six Falls
And Winters and Summers and Spring
That prison I built didn’t love me at all
And denied me the seasons where birds would sing

I sought my revenge, had a plot I rehearsed
But could find no betrayers to blame
I saw only myself and forgave him in verse
I forgave only sure I was no longer the same

As before, I’m now sure that my motives are pure
Though the shame still remains, I became tame.

No words of hatred or pity, just a melodious ditty
Of escape from the gritty,
With only a scrape to wear back to the city
In humbled, sickly shape

– Stephen J. Dawson Jr.

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4 thoughts on ““Escape From Château d’if” Poem with audio, written and read by Stephen J. Dawson Jr.

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    1. Thank you!!! I’m a huge fan of The Count of Monte Cristo so Alexandre Dumas deserves the credit. I’m usually either strict with the form of verse or break every rule and write prose poems. This was a little experimental.

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