White Woods

The following is a poem that was emulated from Rumi’s When I Die – it is written from the point of view of Blanche DuBois, to her sister Stella DuBois.


when i die                                                                                                                                                             bury me with palms that                                                                                                                                   have been kissed and held others and                                                                                                           you must never think                                                                                                                                               i missed a moment to love you

i would tell you not to shed tears                                                                                                                        or to not lament                                                                                                                                                      or feel sorry                                                                                                                                                          for my departure from us                                                                                                                               but i am much too selfish to ask of this

when you see                                                                                                                                                          my frail form is being carried,                                                                                                                      please fret over how i look, dear,                                                                                                                        for i will be leaving                                                                                                                                                for a very long, eternal place of love

when you leave me                                                                                                                                                   in the grave,                                                                                                                                                       please wave goodbye to me, dear –                                                                                                       remember what you and i                                                                                                                            learned in our                                                                                                                                              beautiful, old, Belle Reve

you’ll only see me                                                                                                                                            leaving your side for a moment                                                                                                                        now watch the sky, my love                                                                                                                               for i will be in the sun as it sets                                                                                                                     and the moon when it goes down

it looks like the end                                                                                                                                                 it seems i passed as a moth                                                                                                                              but in our eyes i will be a                                                                                                                            butterfly when this grave locks                                                                                                                        me up, when my soul flies free

have you ever seen a caterpillar                                                                                                             disappear and not emerge a butterfly?                                                                                                          why should you doubt the                                                                                                                             words, now, of your dear                                                                                                                               wise sister?

have you ever seen                                                                                                                                                 a light flicker out and not                                                                                                                             glow with love and warmth once                                                                                                                         it has been relit?                                                                                                                                                 why worry so much, my dear

when for the last time                                                                                                                                       you witness your final sunset                                                                                                                        your palms and eyes will                                                                                                                              search for mine and                                                                                                                                             we will fly to the moon                                                                                                                              together, my dear, with our                                                                                                                             new wings.

Blanche DuBois, throughout A Streetcar Named Desire, is consistently portrayed as a sexually-driven and promiscuous woman, something that stemmed from the death of her young husband in the past and her subsequent search for some form of affection and comfort in the arms of men around her. In the poem above, I attempted to combine an element of lost innocence from this pre-tragedy Blanche, her deep love towards her sister Stella, and the Blanche that we see during the timeline of the story, one who has essentially lost all hope for life and finding this adoration from another she craves so much.

Despite her actions, I believe, by nature, Blanche is someone who was very innocent and pure at a certain point in her life. This innocence in her earlier years coincided with the presence of her sister at Belle Reve, or Stella’s presence in her life in general. Blanche has depended on Stella as a source of her past life and a connection to this lost innocence, and as such, at the time of her death (not just her demise at the end of the play) I believe she would be thinking of Stella.

We see that Blanche describes herself, to others, as Stella’s younger sister at various points in the play to maintain a certain image about her. Despite being older, Stella had such a protective and motherly disposition to her, and it became extremely apparent in her caring for Blanche.

In my piece, Blanche’s final message to Stella is multi-faceted; she is saying sorry, she is saying thank you, and she is saying that they will always have each other for the rest of time. All of their mistakes and arguments and disagreements do not overwhelm the pure love and affection they hold for one another – that is what I believe.

Speaking frankly, I’m not sure if my belief is what is actually true – or if it is simply me pushing my desire for some sort of love to prevail in such a tragic story. If there is one ounce of this former innocence and love present in Blanche and Stella, I believe that my poem could become reality – in whichever meaning of the word exists in this play.

claire b. / pic credit

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One thought on “White Woods

  1. Dear Claire,

    First of all, let me say that your poetry is truly a gift to read. Your have such a lyrical quality to all your writing, but in your poetry this quality is magnified to a point where when I read your words, they flow like a song. On top of this you are able to writ poetry in the skin of another character, a skill that does not come lightly. If nothing else this piece is a testament to your growth as a writer over the past few months.

    Building off of this, I want to commend you on your choice to take Rumi’s work and emulate it with Blanche’s voice. Its an interesting choice, and not one I would have thought could work, and yet not only have you made it work, but you’ve made it work beautifully. In particular the lines ‘i will be in the sun as it sets/and the moon as it goes down’ summarize a side of Blanche I feel is often lost in her vanity and shrillness, and that is that she is a dreamer. So the idea of her being in such celestial objects, to me truly spoke of not just the complexity of Blanche, but your firm understanding of her character.

    The one change I would offer for this piece is that the lack of capitalization did not work. Aesthetically it’s very pleasing, and it does suit the poem, but for this poem to believably be Blanche’s, I cannot see her not capitalizing, as she’s very proper and her values of what makes good poetry seem to be very rooted in tradition, as is the rest of her character.

    All in all, this work is wonderful and an absolute treat to read. The writing you’ve produced over the past few months is both mesmerizing and humbling. I’m so lucky to be in your class and in your family group.


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