Happy Birthday, Mr. Shakespeare
23rd April — Today is Shakespeare’s birthday The greatest playwright ever, To write those stories all in verse Is surely very clever. We might not understand it all, T’was writ in ancient time, Those cadences and wondrous words Will always sound sublime. Shylock — what a character; Macbeth, the witches’ whore; King Henry’s speech will rouse your soul And gird your loins for war. The Bard was born and died this day In Stratford upon Avon, While men can breathe or eyes can see His words won’t be forsaken.
After the War
A sonnet — And now, the dragons come, clouding the sky, Their leather wings gleam grey as molten lead, They screech and howl as overhead they fly, Swoop down, snatch-claw the bodies of the dead, And in the sea, Leviathan ploughs waves, Its mighty jaws encompass Spanish galleons, Yet now they swallow men in briny graves, Whose bones and flesh are fit only for carrion. Gigantic wurm-life creeps forth, sniffing blood, Their ring-toothed mouths in greediness devour Cold corpses in the sour sanguinous mud, And surely, this must be our darkest hour, For naught is left but broken stone and glass. Our sons and daughters curse us as they pass.
The Mad Ecologist’s Song
(with apologies to Lewis Carroll) — He thought he saw a seagull sitting 0n a rocky crag, he looked again and saw it was a wind-blown plastic bag, then thousands more along the shore — a flock of warning flags. He thought he saw a gathering of pretty floating birds, he looked again and saw it was a mass…
Salt at the Soupçon Café
and unrequited love — Darkday afternoon, when all is sleepiness, lights on at three, indoor headache. The café pours out golden light, a waft of rich blend raises the spirits. She comes here to meet him — wheat and rye hair and a scholar’s brain, but his commitment is not to her sex. Salt crystals spilled, gritty to her fingertips. On the street, umbrellas turn up like the frill of a ptarmigan’s tail; coat hems flap, heads bow to the wind, rain spatters the window.