Thursday, April 19, 2012

National Poetry Month: From the Land of the Bard

All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players:

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.

And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,

Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon's mouth....

...And then the justice,

In fair round belly with good capon lined,

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;

And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,

His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide

For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion,

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

--Jaques in William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, scene IV

Illustrations are from my last visit to London:

1 & 2: Globe Theater, a bit of a pilgrimage.  I left with a desperate longing to jump onto the stage and call for "a muse of fire!"

3: Paddington, in Paddington Station. We took the train from Heathrow to Paddington. I wasn't so familiar with the bear, but I did just read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. At one point, Smiley disembarks at Paddington and goes to a hotel to study pilfered documents. As I thought of that, I notice a man slightly older than myself, with his hair brushed straight back, checking his phone for texts. "Hey," I thought, "he could BE Smiley." Then, he looked up. After noticing that he wore those fabulous Clark Kent glasses that I cannot wait to get for myself, and that, for his casual fashion, he seeme espensivly dressed, I thought, "wait, he IS Smiley." No, not Smiley, not Gary Oldman, but familiar, famous...Bill Nighy! True story.

4: A condom wrapper found in Canterbury Castle, because some people can fuck anywhere.

5: Statue of Bodicca and daughters -- the one that I only saw at night before -- along the Thames with the Eye in the background. I still did not get drunk enough to think going up in the Eye was a good idea. Normally, yeah, but these attacks of vertigo have become a nuisance.

6: Memorial to the soldiers who fought at Dunkirk in World War II, at Dover Beach. First, don't go to Dover in the off-season. Everything is closed. Second, next to the poppy wreath you will see a pile of stones, a tradition Jewish display of mourning and memory. I wonder if the people who placed them there did so to connect the war to the end of the Holocaust.

7: A marker for the historic site of Scotland Yard.

8: Big Ben, marking the passing of time.

9: A stray group of graves by a small church in Canterbury. We had been looking for "Jewry Lane" and came across a graveyard next to a church, very haunting in the dusk. Some indigents had set up camp behind the church, and these decaying graves next to the graffitti, with a parking garage in the background captured the mood.


Cyn said...

*gasps* Oh, these are amazing pictures! Thanks for sharing them, dear Clio.

Clio Bluestocking said...

You are quite welcome, Cyn!


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