Will and me

15 March 2011 § 5 Comments

An effort of Will

He watches me
With dark, half-laughing eyes
From the postcard pinned
Above my desk;
Gold earring gleaming
And, I like to think,
A wink of fellow-feeling
Crackling beneath the paint.

His presence there
Does not intimidate;
We’re confederates, co-conspirators,
Rattling off the long day’s paid-for pages head-and-hand
While the heart beats to the rhythm
Of words that will be written
When doors are closed, lights dimmed,
And the world looks the other way.

Two country lads:
One weaving his boyhood’s woodbine and eglantine
To make a bower for a fairy queen,
And placing a bouquet of well-remembered weeds
In poor Ophelia’s hands;
Winding his word-girdle round the world
Unknowingly; lines penned to play for pay tonight
That would stretch a thousand years.

The other
Labouring under the master’s gaze
With foolish tales of tractors, trees
Shepherds, birds and hunting-dogs
In his own daily comedy
Of errors. I look on Will
And know that his perfection’s out of reach.
But I would learn from all he has to teach.

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§ 5 Responses to Will and me

  • slpmartin says:

    One of my professors in college was the western hemisphere expert on Shakespeare..it was one of the most marvelous experiences of university….so I particularly love this verse of yours.

  • gonecycling says:

    I’m going to see ‘Hamlet’ at the Globe Theatre in London in May…something I’ve waited more than half my life to do. You’re a lucky fellow to have studied Will’s work at college: my degree is in agriculture, but I fell in love with Shakespeare in my teens and he’s still my all-time (and probably only true) hero. Thank you for your comment, Charles – always much appreciated.

  • belfastdavid says:

    Every year for about 11 or 12 years a theatre company used to come to Leeds in the summer and perform Shakespeare in the open air at Kirkstall Abbey.

    I fell in love with Shakespeare at those performance.
    Sadly they do not seem to be doing it anymore. I do not know why – money I suppose

    But I do have one of their sweat-shirt to remember them by 🙂

  • Narnie says:

    I so want to see Macbeth at the Globe. I am in awe of more than his plays but his risk taking – making up words, even changing the way he wrote to make those London actors understand his scripts (which had his heavy accent on every page)… I mean, the man was a fantastic self-promoter and so determined. That could only have come from a belief that he had to stretch himself to provide pure entertainment… an appreciation to people from all walks of life. Gosh, I could bore anyone on the subject. But this poem is so respectful and gentle in your approach to comparison. I think it is wonderful.

    • gonecycling says:

      Thank you so much for your comment, Kiersty – I really wasn’t sure whether I should post this poem or not at first. Writing anything about Shakespeare is fraught with danger, while to compare oneself to him, even as obliquely as I’ve tried to, is often seen as borderline blasphemy, so I’m glad you like this piece! And feel free to bore me about him any time; I’m a fellow addict and understand completely!

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