Thinking of Shakespeare, Caught At a Closed Gate–
I hear him cursing “Zounds” (‘His wounds”)
at the dusk-dropped gate, its iron lattice,
even then, mottled with thick and thin.
He presses his forehead almost
into its rivulets, nipping cold, as
Hamnet of an instant pricks
his heart, like a foul hollow tripped upon
in the sluicing cobbles,
that little tiny boy—
How foolish to toy
with what is no more, he thinks,
knowing even as his next breath moves the rain
like a feather
that only one who never had a son
could think so
For his poor fool
So, his mind works—words, stones skipping
across a river, light slipping
across a sea—figures
of speech that
from tossed ships
salvage their sails
even as he pulls his own cloak, sodden–
(for the rain, it seems, has rained down
closer than the night, and heads back
to a pallet at the theater,
looking up to the heavens
for signs of gentling.
Here’s a draft poem for the 24thday of April, National Poetry Month, written for Ella’s (of Ella’s Edge) prompt on With Real Toads. Ella’s prompt was to write a poem based upon a sentence from a book. I opened up Bill Bryson’s book on Shakespeare— a section that discusses the period after Shakespeare lost his young son, Hamnet. Of course, very little is known of Shakespeare’s feeling about the loss except through his plays. I’ve tried to incorporate very loosely some lines from plays, including King John, King Lear and Twelfth Night, and very obliquely, The Merchant of Venice. “Zounds” was a euphemism for God’s wounds or Jesus’ wounds. The sentence that was the spring board is below:
“A separate question is why Shakespeare moved in this period to Bankside, a not particularly salubrious neighborhood when his theatrical connection was still with the Theatre, at precisely the other side of the city. It must have been a slog shuttling between the two (and with the constant risk of finding his way barred when the City gate was locked each dusk) ….” Bill Bryson, Shakespeare.
MY APOLOGIES FOR SLOWNESS IN RETURNING COMMENTS. A VERY BUSY COUPLE OF DAYS. I WILL GET BACK TO PEOPLE AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PATIENCE!
(PS – I appreciate that the photo has little to do with the poem! Agh!)