I was saving this idea for the 23rd (Shakespeare’s birthday/deathday/chose-your-own-anniversary-day) when I usually write something Shakey-related. Anyhoo this was an idea I thought I might explore then, but it poured out of me today, so we’ll just deal with it. (I do have another idea in reserve, or perhaps something entirely new will pop out.)
Also thanks to a poet whose work I hugely admire, as well as being a dear friend, for saying he’s been enjoying reading my poems. He was particularly kind about this year’s Easter Sunday poem saying it “abided with [him]” & it’s been returning to his mind often over the last few days. He’s even left it open in his browser to be able to come back to it. Thank you Tom. That means the absolute world to me. It often feels during this mad month that you’re writing in & to a vacuum; and that much of what gets created is pedestrian at best, or merely not-quite-average, so even if only one or two poems fire during the month, it feels like a success.
if, like me,your mediocrity valve is already open
full trickle then saccharine motivational memes
such as Shakespeare wrote Lear during the plague
aren’t. bloody. helping. one. poxy. bit.
well take a modicum of heart cos the reality is
Shakey dates are always shaky at best but Lear
probably doesn’t quite pass the jester test
sure, Lear was most likely written in 1606
it was entered into the Stationers’ Register that year
& contemporary events seem referenced within
yet 1606 wasn’t such a big deal as pandemics go
— most every year had a bitta Black Death — the Great Plague*
didn’t hit til 65 & the Sweet Swan was long gone
1603 was the go to year for things bubonic in Bill’s life
& all our country boy turned out then was (chortle)
Measure for Measure — yes, one of the “problem plays”
if you really want to feel insecure (& no doubt you do)
consider that 1606 might’ve been the year not only
of Lear — but Macbeth — & Antony & Cleopatra too
Bing. Bang. Boom!
*Between 1603 and 1665, only four years had no recorded cases of plague.
The Great Plague of 1665-66 was actually the second plague to be so known; the first was in 1625 & was known as the Great Plague until it was surpassed in deaths by the “final” Great Plague.
Plague was par for the course for everyone in those days is what I’m saying.