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Sonnets from the "30 Sonnets Before 30" series

30 Sonnets Before 30 is a series that emerged after a Discipline of Freedom workshop with Paul Oertel in Denmark in Spring 2019. Victoria had about 3 months to complete the writing of 30 Sonnets before her thirtieth birthday.



The Red Flag


When my blood stopped to flow outwards tonight

I roared & raged & bound myself with oak

Looked at the door and stepped into the night

To face the face of things that are uncloaked

My life was stuck, my life was in a screen

Cluttered, heavy, rotten and all forgot

I died & died & died from a migraine

Dreaming of rows after rows of things that lock

All light inside a long-forgotten well

In a backyard, with no name on the door.

Trying to forget things I couldn’t tell,

Trying to rush, I fell flat on the floor.

Oh damn! If I had taken time to care

I would’ve seen that all was already there.



The Dead Fox


Waking up to the cries of a wild fox

Is not a proper affair, not at all.

At first you tremble, then you check the locks

Of your beautiful house, wondering who to call.

You wake your darling: “Can you hear it, too?”

They grunt & nudge, get up to peer through th’blind:

“I can see it. But what am I to do?”

Answers. At 3 am, they’re hard to find.

But to go back to oblivion, at last

You tried & cared, but there was nothing to be done

To stop the agony of the loud beast.

And in your sleep that night, you’ll dream it’s gone.

There’s no trace of the dead fox in the morning—

But blood. The garbage truck took everything.



The First Steps


The first steps towards you are heavy & slow

The actors are prepared, but where’s the magic?

They crack their eggs, break from their moulds of snow

Trying so hard to lift up what’s tragic.

“Let it fall,” I say. “Let it be.

This is lodged somewhere deep in your bones,

Your paws, your hair. Don’t try to handle the mystery.”

They spring and crawl and sprawl. Someone bemoans:

“But where’s it hidden? Why is this so hard?”

“In th’words.” It’s all in there. Just let them sound,

Bounce off, fly out: that is their job. The Bard

Left you a massive, sandy, shaded playground.

And suddenly something clicks—a door unlocks.

The soul comes rushing in—out of its box.



The Edge of the World


Standing at the edge of the world, I see

Peering through, leering in, holding my gaze

A reflection of all the things that I could be

Outside of my skin, as if it was just a phase.

As if I was unreal, invisible,

Forgot. As if I wasn’t really there—

Are these my hands? Am I believable?

I know how to play the part, I do’t everywhere.

In the town, the field, the forest, I run & play

I smile & smile until it hurts my face

Until I can no longer put on display

Another word. Erase all, but its trace.

These shocks break my confused reverie,

And I know: there’s no place I’d rather be.

Sonnets from the "Fringe Sonnets" series

Victoria wrote a sonnet a day while Will & Co was taking part in the Edinburgh Fringe with Will, or Eight Lost Years of William Shakespeare's Life in 2019.

The Hill on the First Day

Fringe Day 1 - August 12


When I close my eyes, I see made-up castles
Iron gates, towers, turrets burning bright
In th'setting sun. They remind me of fossils
Who've fought their way through time to see the light.
The crowds engulf us, shouting everywhere
We climb & climb, trying to draw their gaze
Who wants a picture? Flyer? Poster? There!
Someone has seen us! I smile, I fawn, I'm ablaze!
Someone has recognized our true story,
Our craft, our souls, our passion burning through.
Someone has seen the fire, the glory
The play that speaks to them, while true to you.
While they smile at our jibes & at our jests
Heavy rain comes. It takes care of all the rest.

The Team

Fringe Day 7 - August 18


Gallivanting in front of me, I see
A man all in red, a lady-in-waiting,
A roguish knight, a prince who's yet to be
Tried & weighted, 'for he's ready to be King;
I see a march. I watched them, determined
To plough through, to carry bravely on
Despite the rejection, the guillotined
Dreams of smile, a word, a nod. All gone!
And yet they don't lose faith, they try & try
They'll surely come & speak t'you if they can
If they see you looking, even if shy -
They'll mobilize. They'll think they've found a fan!
Hell! How I admire this truculent team!
They're the best of them all, better than any dream.

The Curtain

Fringe Day 9 - August 20


Standing backstage, I see shadows perform
A strange and silent dance; a mystery.
This is where magic is born, where we conform
Only to the dictats of divinity.
This is where life becomes bigger than itself,
In the shallow breath of a single actor's soul,
This is where shame is put upon a shelf -
It won't be needed now. Can't you hear the call?
This is the empty space waiting for you
To fill it with the world you bring withal
This is where dreams should ring simple & true,
Where there is never a place for another Fall.
Welcome, wanderer, to our woeful wonders -
Hark! We bring our truths on the winds of thunder.

The End

Fringe Day 13 - August 24


Today, I channel the golden gilded butterfly
Who lives an entire life in a day -
Whose frail flap of wings, whose silent cry
Can rebuild whole worlds who were in decay.
The power, the vision, the precision of this spirit
Guides me on & makes me wed my fate
I lose myself in the stage's words, in a minute
It'll all be over; then it'll be too late.
This is the last time the lights turn on
On this particular space, this gathering of souls,
This is the only time we have - to hold on
To each other, before the illusion falls.
We end by her gifting me the most precious of memories:
"This reminds me of the RSC in the seventies."

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