Shakespeare poetry and plays are deeply memorable, like a song you love and don’t mind hearing again and again. Take this lyrical passage from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act II, Scene I:
I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania some time of the night,
Lulled in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamelled skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in.
For this month’s new theme, Shakespeare and Company, we’ve gathered songs we hope you won’t mind hearing again and again, from Natalie Merchant’s “Ophelia” to Duke Ellington’s “Madness in Great Ones (Hamlet).”
As always, there’s company you might not expect; in this case, from Andy Griffith to Plácido Domingo and a few cuts that have nothing whatsoever to do with Shakespeare and his buddies… but just happen to pick up various namesakes in album titles, artist names, or songs. Give a listen. Find something to love (and write by). Then try the poetry prompt below.
Pretend you are a central object or location in one of Shakespeare’s plays, and write a poem from the point of view of the object or location… watching the scene unfolding before you.
For instance, you could choose to be the dagger in Macbeth, the water in Hamlet (where Ophelia is later found), the vault in Romeo and Juliet. What do you see, hear, taste, feel, touch? What colors accompany the scene, what fragrances? How do you feel about the action that’s happening either with or in spite of you?
Featured Heroes & Villains Poem
Strange things happened
at midday. The glittering sea rose up,
moved apart in planes of blatant impossibility;
the coral reef
and the few stunted palms
that clung to the more elevated parts
would float up into the sky,
would quiver, be plucked apart,
run like raindrops on a wire
or be repeated
as in an odd succession of mirrors.
Sometimes land loomed
where there was no land
and flicked out
like a bubble as the children watched.
Photo by Daniel Zedda, Creative Commons via Flickr.