Mary Beard IV


The lecture barely starts when something wrong
With the computer brings the show unstuck.
In olden days when evening slides got stuck,
Mary used knives to move the slides along.
Everything fixed, she takes us through the throng
Of images the men who ruled Rome took
To wife, stamped like their husbands with the look
Of Caesar: bland, untroubled, restful, strong,

Caesarian women born above suspicion,
Till a mischance or flaw cracked the façade
And down they toppled. Now no erudition
Finds the real woman but all can guess how hard

The fate each faced alone, the public monster,
Her nature, husband, child, world turned against her.




Current edit:
15 June 2014
19 October 2015
25 April 2016

Mary’s fourth lecture is another richly suggestive pot-pourri of themes, this time floating around the feminine side of things. She had troubles with her power-point display at the start of the lecture and reminisced briefly about the old days with projectors, when she used knives to keep the slides moving. It was unintentional, or maybe subliminal, but it fitted in perfectly with the aura of menacing femininity she was conjuring up for the audience. It suits my purpose very well, where Mary is the mirror of the past.


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