On Juliet's Watch
by R. Dean Ludden
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Were there of night sufficiency to hold
its chambers shielded from all predators
of mind that thrust into those walls
(as she will thrust into her own)
with reasoned words,
though she would stay them with a love
transcending seasoned swords until,
invading her last sanctuary with larksong,
day asserts its cruelty
and moonlight, vanquished, vanishes—
then Romeo would live, and lovers lose
forever that they gained, on Juliet's watch.
Then what of tragedy would mold
an intellect, would steal from history's
raw fire and feed compassion....take desire
and form a noble sacrifice?
Could we have known the power
of hopeless tears to change diversion
into art....to touch in our humanity
a flow of the divine?
I tend to think a night presaged
effulgent day on Juliet's watch.
Had we not heard her laughter,
watched her weep,
what would become of us?
Had not we stood around that wooden stage
400 years ago and felt within
a manhood only saints and prophets knew,
would we too, laugh and cry,
and treasure that within our hearts?
Perhaps; I think, though, not so much
as we do now, because of what we saw
on Juliet's watch.