A few years ago I wrote sonnets for the main actors from the Wizard of Oz: Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley and Bert Lahr. I’ve remastered them to post on this blog.
A Sonnet for Judy Garland
You were gorgeous but they didn’t realize
As they made you up to be like others,
If they only had looked into your eyes
Past the girl next door and seen the mother.
You, their ugly duckling, little hunchback
Became film history for them but not
Because of them; their whips could only crack,
And break the skin. Your wounds someday would clot.
But scars of insecurity remained
The memory of caps to cover teeth,
Breasts bound up with tape, your curves contained
Denial of the woman grown beneath.
Addictions formed to bare the acting blitz
Self-overdosage of barbiturates.
A Sonnet for Ray Bolger
Limbered vaudevillian dancing Broadway
Down its yellow bricked road to film and fame;
Stopping to get strung up, stuffed with hay,
Discovers that he always had a brain.
A Friend to Judy Garland ‘til the end
Unrivaled master of the stage and screen
Life could never break him when it bended
Ray sold vacuums, insurance before scenes.
Though they said his legs were made of rubber
He stood tall against his bladder cancer,
Never wavering or blubbering as
The straw man might – Ray found questions answered.
He went to heaven in his straw suit clad
His heart had courage and was ironclad.
A Sonnet for Jack Haley
A Clanking Clattering Collection of
Caliginous Junk devoid of a heart,
That proved his self more capable of love
Than those who never suffered, ripped apart.
The vaudeville song and dance comedian
Possessing both the gruff and gentle voice
To get his way, while read to children,
As fans from generations still rejoice.
Replacing Ebson with an eye infection
He tin soldiered on, not turning back
Working past a silver, cursed complexion,
Acting ‘til the day he had a heart attack.
His testimonial is still clickin’
Within the cased heart forever tickin’
A Sonnet for Bert Lahr
Your love for Mercedes was complex,
But you had endless courage on your side
To overcome her pain, mental affects
And seek another one to lie beside.
Her, your Mildred, grew impatient waiting,
Causing you to lose two different mates,
As she married, reduced your heart to skating
On thin ice, pounding on its ribcage gate.
But, as all great love stories will tell us
You won her back despite demanding work
And travel that you needed for success
In the dust and grime, show business murk.
Though your record doesn’t show a scion –
You were never man, you were a lion.