‘Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, than to remain a dupe to illusion all one’s life.’ Kate Chopin

Edna is aware of her fictional nature, yet often contemplates the fate of her soul. She lives the plot outlined by Kate. As a player on the stage she awakens to her sexuality and bears the haunting foreshadow of a watery suicide.

She envisions hers is an artist’s courageous soul, one that dares and defies, ruminates and imagines. In the inner recesses of her holographic mind St. Theresa’s mansions, a second coming of Aphrodite, coexist with her own intuited poem of a distant future where an archandroid Theresa inhabits an orphan planet. Abandoned, like Edna, not to the sea but outer space . . .

There was something extremely gorgeous about the appearance of the table, an effect of splendor conveyed by a cover of pale yellow satin under strips of lace-work. There were wax candles, in massive brass candelabra, burning softly under yellow silk shades; full, fragrant roses, yellow and red, abounded.

In the prayer of union the soul is asleep, fast asleep, as regards the world and itself: in fact, during the short time this state lasts it is deprived of all feeling whatever, being unable to think on any subject, even if it wished. No effort is needed here to suspend the thoughts: if the soul can love it knows not how, nor whom it loves, nor what it desires. In fact, it has died entirely to this world, to live more truly than ever in God.

An orphan drifts through interstellar space
mountains rising on a world without days
exposed to dark imagination’s grace
blanketed in an atmospheric haze

There was the occasional sound of music, of mandolins, sufficiently removed to be an agreeable accompaniment rather than an interruption to the conversation. Outside the soft, monotonous splash of a fountain could be heard; the sound penetrated into the room with the heavy odor of jessamine that came through the open windows.

These heavenly consolations are above all earthly joys, pleasure, and satisfaction. As great a difference exists between their origin and that of worldly pleasures as between their opposite effects, as you know by experience. I said somewhere that the one seems only to touch the surface of the body, while the other penetrates to the very marrow: I believe this . . .

light years from the last kiss of her lodestar
whispering ice gods keep the planet bound,
flick-lit by a giant passing pulsar,
its steady signal yearning to be found

The golden shimmer of Edna’s satin gown spread in rich folds on either side of her. There was a soft fall of lace encircling her shoulders. It was the color of her skin, without the glow, the myriad living tints that one may sometimes discover in vibrant flesh. There was something in her attitude, in her whole appearance when she leaned her head against the high-backed chair and spread her arms, which suggested the regal woman, the one who rules, who looks on, who stands alone.

‘The King brought me into the cellar of wine,’ (or ‘placed me’ I think she says): she does not say she went of her own accord, although telling us how she wandered up and down seeking her Beloved. I think the prayer of union is the ‘cellar’ in which our Lord places us when and how He chooses, but we cannot enter it through any effort of our own.

archandroid presages a mystagogue
bearing a book of tales most luminous,
an Interior Castle analogue,
detailing a communion numinous
forgotten promises written in code
as her self-repairing circuits corrode

But as she sat there amid her guests, she felt the old ennui overtaking her; the hopelessness which so often assailed her, which came upon her like an obsession, like something extraneous, independent of volition. It was something which announced itself; a chill breath that seemed to issue from some vast cavern wherein discords waited.

There is no longer any question of deliberation, but the soul in a secret manner sees to what a Bridegroom it is betrothed; the senses and faculties could not, in a thousand years, gain the knowledge thus imparted in a very short time. The Spouse, being Who He is, leaves the soul far more deserving of completing the espousals, as we may call them; the enamored soul in its love for Him makes every effort to prevent their being frustrated.

There came over her the acute longing which always summoned into her spiritual vision the presence of the beloved one, overpowering her at once with a sense of the unattainable.

Notes: The first two sections of the prose and the sonnet are mine, the rest of the prose stanzas were taken from The Awakening by Kate Chopin and The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Ávila. I initially put these in italics and bold but found it was much too visually distracting. My original sonnet The Archandroid Theresa appears here: http://chromapoesy.com/2012/09/13/the-archandroid-teresa/. This poem was expanded from the sonnet in response to Victoria’s fantastic prompt at dVerse Poets Pub: http://dversepoets.com/2012/10/18/steampunk-and-enjambment-huh-dverse-meeting-the-bar/.