He grew up a laughing stock
across from the river Avon,
son of a poor tailor.
Clothes make the man.
His father coined the phrase
but shared it not with his son.
The lad had but scraps of cloth
ne’er enough for a pound of flesh,
certainly lacking as he grew.
His mother’s eldest child
cold comfort she gave him,
too busy suckling the youngest ones.
His job, to tend the fire
through cold of winter’s nights,
not easy at that bleak stone hearth.
Stolen bits and scraps of wool
cradled beneath his head at night,
such stuff as dreams are made on.
And each night she came to him
he with heart upon his sleeve,
she in garments weaved of gold.
Her plea to him, always the same.
Steal your father’s coins.
Come what may and flee with me.
Weakened by his love for her,
coins in hand, he fled to nearby woods
expecting to meet beneath the stars.
But all that glitters is not gold
and caught was he within her snare
as she revealed her true self. Devil incarnate.
She took his coins and claimed his soul.
Then, after one kiss upon his anxious lips,
struck him dead.
As good luck would have it,
his body never discovered
decayed within the region’s soil.
And thus it is each spring
he lives again within the greening,
all along the Avon’s shores.
Day 23 in National Poetry Writing month and the anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death.
At Toads today, we are asked to write a poem inspired by the Bard. All of the bold words/phrases in this post, were first coined by Shakespeare and are now in common use. And of course, Stratford-upon-Avon is the town where Shakespeare was born and buried.