The (optional) prompt given for today was to write a poem in the form of a “to-do list” but to choose an unusual person or character. For example, what’s on the Tooth Fairy’s to-do list? Or on the to-do list of Genghis Khan? Of a housefly? Your list can be a mix of extremely boring things and wild things. For example, maybe Santa Claus needs to order his elves to make 7 million animatronic Baby Yoda dolls, to have his hat dry-cleaned to get off all the soot it picked up last December, and to get his head electrician to change out the sparkplugs on Rudolph’s nose.
I’ve chosen one of my favourite Shakespearean villains: Iago, from the play ‘Othello’. Iago is a wonderfully Machiavellian creature, always plotting and scheming to bring others down. If you ever get the chance to see the 1995 Kenneth Branagh film version in which Branagh himself plays Iago, he conveys this wonderfully well through the metaphor of a chess board, manoeuvring pieces into position as he rattles off one of his soliloquies describing how he will destroy the other characters’ lives. I’ve combined all of his soliloquies into one big fat ‘To Do’ list.
Iago’s To Do List
Put money in my purse…
Roderigo has a trusting nature – ‘twill
Work to my advantage.
Thus do I ever make the fool my purse.
The Moor did give my promotion to Cassio –
Curse him for that! I’ll be avenged.
He’s sweet on Desdemona, old
Brabantio’s only daughter, and ‘tis thought
An elopement has been planned.
I’ll rouse the old man from his bed this night
And Roderigo will fill his mind with images so foul
‘Twould make a doxy blush.
‘Your daughter and the Moor
Are making the beast with two backs!’
Curse the thought of her!
Sweet Desdemona, why
Didst not choose me to taste thy charms?
Othello’s old, and – how shall I say’t? –
Not one of us.
The better shall my poison work on him.
But oh! my lips do yearn to taste her still.
I’ll sow discord betwixt the two of them.
How so? Now let me think anon.
The self-same Cassio who took
The post I wanted cannot hold his drink.
He’ll be disgraced and then I’ll set him on
To Desdemona to implore her help.
He hath a daily beauty in his life
That makes me ugly – but we’ll see
If Cassio’s so pretty with a sword
Thrust through his heart…
Five lives ruined – and ‘tis not yet dawn.
All in all, I’d say a good day’s work.