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John Dearing’s Poetry Corner: Ophelia

Ophelia 1851-2 by Sir John Everett Millais, Bt 1829-1896

Ophelia (1851-2) by Sir John Everett Millais. Photo © Tate.

Today we have two poems about Ophelia in Reading.

I – Newspaper in a Puddle

Page Three girl
Face up in water
Drowned Ophelia’s image
On cheap newsprint

But no Millais is here
Her nakedness to cover
With chaste garlands


Another picture of Ophelia:
Discarded by design or impulse, meshed
In Kennet weeds, a child’s doll –
but it’s twisted
And cradled about by empty cans and bottles,
And – worst of all, the girlie wears white boots.



  1. John Dearing at the Whitley Pump
  2. In Grateful Memory, John Dearing’s new booklet about the monuments and inscriptions in St Mary’s Episcopal Chapel
  3. Tate – Sir John Everett Millais, Ophelia

1 comment

  1. Pauline Illenden

    4 April 2020 at 8.52 am

    Thank you for reproducing these poems. They are very thoughtful and have such an impact. More please.

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