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On this date in 1564, Shakespeare was baptised (his exact birthdate is unknown, though it is commonly thought to be 23.04.1564.) I could not let this date go by without hosting a Poetics prompt in his honour. I realise that many people are taking part in NaPoWriMo, and as such, may be feeling poetic burnout as this marathon poetry month draws to a close. With that in mind, I will keep this prompt simple, and amenable to adaptation to fit the other prompts of NaPoWriMo. Below is a list of titles of some of Shakespeare’s plays. I would like you to do ONE of the following:

  • Write a poem based on the theme of your chosen play (be sure to mention which play you have chosen at the end of your poem, or use the play’s title as your poem’s title).
  • Use your chosen title somewhere within your poem (you can also use it as the title of the poem, if you wish).
  • For those of you who like an extra challenge, you can attempt to weave several (or all) of these play titles into your poem:

Romeo and Juliet
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Twelfth Night
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The Tempest
The Taming of the Shrew
A Winter’s Tale
Julius Caesar

The Merchant of Venice

You may write a sonnet, or in blank verse if you wish, as an extra homage to the bard, but I am by no means insisting on this: write whatever form you feel, or make it free verse. For further inspiration, here’s a favourite poem of mine by Nick Reeves, reproduced with kind permission from the author:

Twelfth Night Regards

‘Tis spent… this twelfth night, thinking in North Shields,
cigarette smoke shrouds the top shelves, and the tenders,
turning this way and that, regard weekend spenders.
But, beyond, beyond the sound of this uncouth crowd,
at the pissoir, I’ve spent not a penny, and I’m laughing out loud!

At the top table, the powerful guilds
with their long faces, regard cups and mutter.
Snugged lovers stare, as jarred candles flare and gutter.
The backs at the bar are bent. But, O…from the cloud,
her presence turns me one-eighty, I bow, and I’m laughing out loud!

With this archer’s glance, the town becomes fields
and shop-fronts, sheeted cotton! Street signs…ancient trees!
The traffic is wooden; birdsong rills on the breeze.
But, at the river, a fog divine, heavy-browed
descends, takes me prisoner, I miss her. But I’m laughing out loud!

And here’s some Shakespeare music:

Song from ‘The Merchant of Venice’

When you have your poem ready, post to your blog and link up using the Mr Linky widget below. Please mention or tag dVerse in your post, and link back to this prompt. We all come here to have our poems read, so please read and comment on poems linked up by others!