Three Poems In Tribute To Mr. William Shakespeare

by Richard A. Lord

Kingdom Come ( ... Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2; Henry V.) 

Steady Henry, once known as Hal,
Can taste the tang of power now,
His father, Henry, waits at death’s portal,
To pay, soon, the dues of any mortal.

But Henry who will be the Fifth
Wields cunning that cuts to the pith
Of how one rules in parlous times,
Ignoring, coldly, midnight’s chimes.

In corridors where darkness reigns,
A nation
’s conscience sits in chains
While monks chant solemn tropes of gall
And ravens answer, caw to call.

Tonight, the shuttered kingdom broods
As pious fools fling platitudes;
And Henry strokes his father’s crown,
Wiping muck from his mourner’s gown.

Forcast ( ... Twelfth Night)

There shall be no more cakes and ale,
The pantry's shuttered, the taverns let,
And all our dreams grow stiff and pale.

No matter how much beggars wail
About the little that they get,
There shall be no more cakes and ale.

We'll munch on promise, dull and stale,
And wash it down with spare regret
As all our dreams grow stiff and pale.

The whores all go to take the veil,
The sheets they bartered tear and fret;
And there shall be no more cakes and ale.

Their clients spin their own sad tale,
About the noose of unpaid debt
While all our dreams grow stiff and pale.

The future shrivels, the powers fail,
We haven't seen the worst days yet;

There shall be no more cakes and ale,
For all our dreams grow stiff and pale.

Of Fools and Kings ( .... any of the plays where fools and/or kings play a central role.
King Lear is perhaps the best example)

On some heads sit the shaky crowns,
On others sit the cap and bells;
The pages turn, the cruel chance abounds
Blood is drawn as intrigue swells.

The king demands the fool’s raw jests
To mute the murmurs of deep fear;
Each fool knows these are solemn tests,
Each smile too close to a sneer.

But wisdom is a silent force,
While power bellows to excess.
The royals take the reckless course;
The fools all grin, and then digress.

Last act: the fools alone survive,
Afloat on wisdom’s firm resolve.
Racked kings must take what fates contrive,
And watch as heartless worlds revolve.


Copyright 2018, Richard A. Lord

Richard Lord has written or co-written over 20 books, including two chapbooks of poetry. He has also had dozens of his plays and theatrical sketches professionally produced. He co-wrote, co-directed and acted in a two-man Shakespeare anthology show, A Kingdom For A Stage, which was produced and co-directed by Frank T. Smith.