Orson Welles’ lament, Essaouira, Morocco

Orson Welles statue

“Orson Welles, Orson Welles
you’ve got a fat belly and your backside smells.”

The children hold hands round his statue.
“Away vile urchins, begone,” commands the great thespian
but they come at him with their textas,
adding eyebrows, a moustache, a tinted wig.

Like the Moorish King bereft and betrayed
he ponders his dominion of weeds
victim of scrap merchants, forgotten,
but for the audience of flies and schoolboys.

“Orson Welles, Orson Welles
you’ve got a fat belly and your backside smells.”


Orson Wellles started filming Othello in Essaouira in 1949. The film took years to complete but eventually it won the 1952 Palme D’or in Cannes. The great auteur is remembered in the town by an avennue named after him and this bas-relief statue.

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