Siobhan Harvey – Cleopatra

Harvey LE P&W 3 Nov-Dec 2023

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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Three Nov-Dec 2023.

Cleopatra, poem by Siobhan Harvey.


The real me doesn’t exist
in history, that reinvention of
the past – lost world – men
compose as they reflect
where they came from,
where they went wrong. I
am not their binary: passive-
aggressive; other-mother,
temptress- whore. No,

like few women before
or after, I commanded
everything, everywhere:
land, water, fire, air, sky,
faith, belief; love; birth,
and death. Reborn, I
in the image of Caesar
and Antony, as lover,
mother, consort, queen,
philanthropist, muse.
My descendants ruled
the world. Still erased,

I want to say I lived
on my own terms,
not those mediated
by any man. Silence
my voice by all means,
but know my legacy
has been poisoned
by my enemies’
snakish tongues.

© Siobhan Harvey

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