Day 23 — a sonnet, sort of + big birthday cakes

Today’s poem is a homage to Bill by way of Henry VIII. It’s a Golden Shovel of “Orpheus with his lute” a 12 line poem/song in Henry VIII. Many/Mosyt scholars believe this play was a collaborative effort between Bill & John Fletcher, & I’m inclined to agree with them because it’s never felt like “Shakespeare” to me.

I’ve chosen it because: well Orpheus … & I have Golden Shoveled the last words of each line, juggled them & turned it into a sonnet. Not a great sonnet, mind you, but one with a passing resemblance to a snout. Unlike the ones from the 19th which were all AI generated That was the big guessing game thing that all two of you played haha). It had been my intention to reinterpret one of those to try & punch it into shape but I just found it too hard/the lines too banal. This definitely needs more work, but time being what it is means you get what you see …


Luteless, Orpheus
(with Golden Shovelment to William Shakespeare/John Fletcher)

Forlorn Orpheus longed once more to see 
for himself; the unbelievable greenness of trees,
Rather than be buried neckdeep in melancholy
surrounded by deep dirt, soul ready to freeze

He had long since forgotten how to sing
had no desire to take up lute & play,
Forgotten there was a thing called spring.
had no desire to complete his latest lay.

He longed for the cheerful sway of flowers
wished somehow to re-kickstart his sad heart
Longed for the gentlest summer showers
wished sadly to care once more about petty art:

If only he hadn’t glimpsed her in his corner eye
Then neither of them would have needed to re-die.


Day 23 — TIL about Bill’s birthday

old man Bill

If Bill
were alive today 
he’d be 459
which although 
pretty rootin’ tootin’ 
ancient — is still
less than half
as long as Noah 
or Adam.

he splashes all 
the post-flood crew
out of the water
— over double 
Abraham & Isaac;
almost quadruple 
poor young Moses.

Which is easier to believe:
Methuselah made it to 969
— or the Stratford man
wrote the damn plays!

Day 23 — Bill & his posse of Nature Poets

Shakespeare’s birthday/deathday. Each year I try to write something Bill-affiliated. This can be made harder by having a theme superimposed over the top of it (ie, like pandemics or climate change) but at least it forces me to think outside a few boxes for some green inspiration. Which is always a good thing. Need to apologise in advance for the long pome, I didn’t have the time to write a short poem.

If only poets had the power that multinational corporations have to effect change in the world.


Bill S & his posse of Nature Poets

Bill being a country boy born & bred
was a big lover of nature
dropping dozens of wildflowers
animals, trees, natural events
63 birds, & more into his plays ;
with whimsical abandon
he set them in forests, on coasts, 
on rugged heaths
— if he were writing today
climate change would be his bent

so too Bill Blake’s rage
against dark Satanic Mills
which were pumping his pristine
English skies full of black soot 
& were, after all, the beginning 
of man-made climate change

the posse is being assembled

Lawrence & his dark forest soul 
would definitely be there …
with his animalistic magic 
of snakes & bats & pansies 

a third Bill, Wordsworth
knew nature was divine
& believed true happiness 
was achieved when existing 
in harmony with it, always happy 
to wax lyrical about daffodils, 
clouds, & Tintern Abbey

youthful firebrand Keats
loved nature’s vibrant scents 
& colours & cool calming water
a man who happily sang odes 
to Nightingales, Autumn, & the Sea
would get in on this action

although somewhat simpler 
in scope another John (Clare)
less complex & less well known
marvellously describes the natural 
world & rural life in affectionate
vignettes of Winter Evening,
Wood Pictures in Summer,
& the Little Trotty Wagtail

Emerson’s belief that we understand 
truth only by studying the song of nature
& Humblebees & Snow Storms

& Shelley’s awareness she destroys 
as well as creates; singing odes 
to the West Wind, Skylarks & Mont Blanc

& Dickinson finding awe in everything
Light Existing In Spring
Birds coming down the Walk

& Frost whose name suggests he should be
though not a pure nature poet loved
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

many modern poets too are in the posse

the marvellous Mary Oliver who instills 
poems with wonder-filled images 
drawn from daily walks near her home
Wild Geese & Journeys on Summer Days

& Gary Snyder an activist who speaks 
with an ancient voice but modern tongue
of fertile soil, animal magic, 
the power of solitude, rebirth; 
the love & ecstasy of the dance
& Mountains and Rivers Without End

but as wonderful as all these 
nature loving poets are
what we really need
is for everyone to remember
they too are poets, alive in this bleak
eternal universe only because
our home is a delicately crafted
paean to life