FOR SHAKESPEARE’S BIRTHDAY

.
Sweet Swan of Avon,
 
The dark lady who haunts your sonnets is long gone
            (The dark lady)
So is the friend to whom you showed your love
            (The friend)
Your plays have been interpreted and shown
            (Your plays)
The whole world over; called a treasure trove
            (The whole world)
By thousands; comedies and tragedies
            (By thousands)
And others which defy the naming mind;
            (The mind)
You made a wordworld for our ears and eyes
            (World)
Gave life to dying, vision to the blind.
            (Dying, vision)
Astonishment’s the root word for your plays
            (Astonishment)
Iago is a villain AND Saint James
            (Villain AND James)
Desdemona—of the demons; Hamlet sings and sways
            (Hamlet sings)
Among the many selves that have no names:
            (So many selves)
Shylock’s a Jew; could he be human, he?
            (A Jew)
You make us see what we see couldn’t be.
            (—What we know couldn’t be)
 
*
 
Bard,
 
In sonnet after sonnet, play and play,
We recognize a spirit, deep and rare
That leads us on a fabulous roundelay
We breathe the air of those who breathe the air
Who could not breathe who have no proper name
Who tell us time and time again:
I am not what I am.
 
***
TO SANGYE IN THE MORNING APRIL 23, 2018
 
Good morning, love. Today we celebrate
The birthday of the Bard of Avon—he
Who wrote so much of comedy and Fate
And let his Fancy be both wild and free
 
Who didn’t make “real people”: he made THINGS
Astonishments that never walked the earth
But trod the boards in language that still sings.
Therefore we celebrate this day of birth,
 
Therefore I write a sonnet for your ear
For sonnets always deal with sweetest love
Today may you not shed a single tear
But find the fancies you’ve been dreaming of
 
May you sing too, and dream, and understand,
Dear love, whose name is Buddha: Sangye Land
 
 .
.
Jack Foley

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