Red District – Ophelia

For this Song Saturday, I decided to present another song of the Red District series. It’s time for another of Isobel’s prostitute to take the stage and share a bit of her life and pains. If you want to no more about this 1890 Whitechapel tea shop turning brothel, you’ll find the previous post in Poems & Songs.
I’ll essentially let the song speak for itself. You can listen to me singing an a capella version here. (Note: For some unknown reason MySpace won’t let me rearrange the order of my songs at this time. So instead of being at the top, where I usually put new songs, it is at the bottom of the playlist. You’ll have to scroll it a bit and click on Ophelia. Sorry about that.)


The day I was bought from my kin
Trading daughter to fight famine
It was unknown what I’d go through
Though Ma & Pa sure had a clue
They were thinking with their bellies
And drowned regrets in sweet jellies

The man who took my ownership
Just loved my curls and cherry lip
I was too young for an affair
Apparently, he didn’t care
Nor did his wife who looked away
As long as diamonds filled her day

They call me Ophelia
Because of some memorabilia
One part Shakespeare, two parts drama
A lousy piece of paraphernalia

The man decided to frame me
Dipping under a willow tree
In his favourite ivory dress
Hair spread in a watery mess
There I lay still for three whole days
Until my body was ablaze

I almost died from the fever
I prayed I’d lay still forever
But Death was never all that kind
My health improved, the wife’s declined
When I walked again she was dead
My owner took me in her stead

They call me Ophelia
I was never suicidal
What hides behind their echolalia
Is rather more “homicidal”

By then I was in my twenties
Marrying me put him at ease
Abusing me thus became blessed
His assaults no longer finessed
His wedding gift, choice most unwise
The portrait that caused my demise

I decided to be forthright
When came another sleepless night
He wanted to thrust me once more
Indeed he always was a boar
Sliced him 6 inch under the snout
Harkened his squeaks as blood flowed out

They call me Ophelia
They know they’re wrong but, hush, don’t tell
The only truth in memorabilia
Is that just like her I’m bound for hell

Just call me Ophelia
As my body was never mine
If you pay me with some regalia
You may enjoy a different whine
And since I was forcibly trained
I don’t promise you’ll walk again…


About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

2 responses to “Red District – Ophelia

  • Phil

    I liked the rich imagery and the poetic lyrical description of Ophelia’s situation. It’s easy to sympathize with her and to understand her feisty attitude.

    • Aheïla

      That’s great. It’s an interesting challenge to write a somehow complex character in the limited space of a song. It forces one to chose the words carefully.

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