by The Cowl Editor on September 16, 2019


Photo courtesy of

by Clara Howard ’20

Freshman year English class,
my teacher asked us to open Macbeth
and ever since then,
his lady has meant
“ambition” to me.

And ever since then I’ve been told I should act
like my life has one track
that’ll bring me straight to the throne
otherwise known
as a job I’d want to write home about.

But I gotta say…
I really wanna take a different route.

Because who wants to kill their mind
or break their heart
just to claim they’ve “mastered the art”
of climbing a ladder that’s missing rungs
and doesn’t even start
at the same level for everyone?

And, y’know, I can wash my hands as much as I want,
but my faults don’t hide in the stars,
they stay in the front of my mind
because they like to haunt me.
Like, hey, remember that time
you were almost at the top,
but then your eyes looked down
as your hand reached up
and you dropped to the ground
with no one to stop your fall?

They like to taunt me,
reminding me constantly
of what I could’ve had by now
if I’d only paid attention to how
Lady Macbeth unsexed herself.

But the thing is,
I’ve never wanted to sell myself
to prove I am capable of more.
The thing is,
I’m content with Cawdor.

And even if success is a distant shore,
I’d rather lag behind
than get stuck in the grind
of people with tunnel vision,
brought on by ambition,
who make it their life’s mission
to fulfill a self-made prophecy
that says they have to leave
some sort of grand legacy.

Don’t they know it’s okay to just be?

Fall semester Shakespeare class,
my professor asked us to open Macbeth,
and when I read it again,
his lady still meant
“ambition” to me.

And, honestly,
more’s the pity.