On a conversation in a pub

“… with Cathy and Heathcliff, you can’t empathise

They’re selfish and nasty, they cheat and they lie.”

“But they love with a passion, you don’t need to approve

Or to like or respect them, but fail to be moved?”

 

“I’m with Claire, I don’t like it at all

The characters are hateful, the story is dull.”

“And what’s with that Nelly, interfering old hag,

A gossip, a stirrer, a nosy old nag.”

 

“Are you crazy, or blind? This is love on grand scale,

Consuming and flaming, not sickly and pale.

How can you not like it? It’s raw and blood red

Besides,” she leaned forward, “Heathcliff’d be great in bed.”

 

“No!” Claire replied. “He’d be violent and mean,”

“That’s as may be, but he’d sure make you scream.”

 

Valerie downed her lager and smiled,

“The prose is laborious, the characters vile.”

 

“But remember Heathcliff, Cathy dead in his hold

His pain and his anguish, relentless and bold

Remember his plea, his piteous howl,

‘How can I live sans my life, live sans my soul?’

You’re right he is vicious, more devil than man,

And she is deceitful, a cowardly sham

And they are abhorrent and twisted and cruel

But they are in love! And this love makes them cruel.”

 

Valerie raised her eyebrows and said,

“I’d just rather read a good book instead.”

 

“Now Jane Eyre,” said Claire, “that one was good.

With characters who love, but behave like they should.

Jane I believe in. Jane I can like.

She is meek but with strength, and she does what is right.”

 

“Now don’t get me wrong here, I love the book too

But does what is right? Are you crazy? A fool?

She says that she loves him, yet she leaves him alone

To suffer his mistake, to pay on his own.

Okay, so she’s selfless, and honest and kind

But these virtues mislead her; her faith makes her blind

So he’s already married, a hurdle for sure

But, truly, he loves her, still she walks out that door.

Though in th’ end he’s redeemed, and happ’ly they live,

For leaving that day, Jane I’d never forgive.”

 

“I didn’t think much of Emma, either,” said Val

“Or that Sense and whatever, also banal.”

“Fuck’s sake, I can’t hear this! Are you crazy, unhinged?”

“Just saying I didn’t like them. Guess they’re just not my thing.”

 

“Please, please tell me that you like P and P.”

“Sorry. Not really. It just wasn’t me.”

Claire laughed and said, “I thought it was cool,

Especially that bit where Darcy dives in the pool!”

A fist hits the table, legs wobble and shake

“Fucking unbelievable, for sacrilege sake.”

 

Rebecca, I loved. No, really. No joke.”

Said Claire as she sipped at her vodka and Coke.

“I feel for the heroine. Her doubts and her fears

I’ve shared now and then, in the passing of years.”

 

“But Mrs de Winter, she’s mousy and dull.

Now Rebecca’s a woman to plague someone’s soul.”

 

Time had been called; the bar had been cleared,

Except for the table where these musings were heard

“And your lovers,” asked Claire, “are they likeable folk?”

“Not nice exactly, but intriguing I hope.

Really and truly, they’re a cowardly pair,

One won’t fight, the other doesn’t fight fair.”

 

“I like it,” said Val, “it’s a credible read.”

Said the barman, “Night ladies. Time to leave.”

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