Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Juliet (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHAKESPEARE!)


Guess whose 450th birthday it is today!


I've writ a special poem for you all
to celebrate the great Bard's day of birth,
four hundred fifty years, not an age small,
that he hath brought us tears, love, war, and mirth.
So if you readers patiently attend,
an ode to Billy Shakespeare I will send.

JULIET

You have become a goddess of love
to those who write to you.
Beyond a thirteen-year-old girl,
beyond a heroine in a Shakespeare tragedy,
you are a deity of Verona,
immortalized by the sentimental
who place their prayers between the stones
of the Wailing Wall beneath your balcony.
Poetry springs from your blushing pilgrim lips,
words to complete a sonnet swirling
in your love-swathed thoughts.
I want to do the same. I want to speak
sweetly and trippingly on the tongue,
but I am not you, but Hamlet,
poetic and wild and unfathomable,
complex in love and passionate in vengeance,
whose purpose pushes away intimacy—
you have to make a promise
to search the depths of my madness
to love me, to understand me.
No, love goddess, I am not you.
I am Mercutio and Prospero,
Hamlet and Prince Hal.
I am uncertain and wavering,
and I know not whether I walk in reality
or float in a world made of clouds.
We are both dreamers, Juliet,
but I could not take up your happy dagger,
not even for sonnets of neverending light.
For your love leads to dying,
and mine must keep me alive.

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