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Woman and Wife

My name was Anne Hathaway, a maiden like no other,

Acting as a mother to my father and my brother.

I fell in love with a younger man and gladly took his name,

Mrs. Shakespeare is a name of fortitude and fame.

 

My husband is a playwright a poet and a wit.

It takes him far away from home, but I don’t mind a bit.

In London he makes the fortune that facilitates our life,

Then he rides 3 days to visit his devoted, waiting wife.

 

I am mistress of our beautiful home, and run it as I will,

I order this and purchase that, my husband pays the bill.

I care not that he is not the most attentive, ardent lover.

His affection shows in his support, of our children and my brother.

 

Yes, I am a dutiful daughter, mother, friend and wife.

I don’t burden my dear husband with petulance or strife.

It is unseemly for a woman to disobey a man,

Though this can be a challenge, I do the best I can

 

William wanted Anne Hathaway to be his wedded wife,

And I became the wife my husband needed in his life.

His London life is different, dramatic, fancy-free.

But when his work is over, he will return to me.

The Forest of Arden: A Sonnet

Let’s take a journey back to Shakespeare’s day,

When verdant forest coated England’s heart.

With Oak and Ash and Birch, and flowering May,

A place of mystery and Fairy Art.

 

Beside a path of Stitchwort and sweet Thyme,

A handsome youth is by his cattle led.

There, hidden from view by thorny Eglantine,

The Fairy Queen sleeps on a Primrose bed.

 

A Willow grows aslant a glassy stream,

Where sweet Ophelia finally laid her head.

Alas, that forest now is but a dream,

That wild and wonderland is almost dead.

 

Man’s lust for power, money, need to own,

Has changed that place, to tarmac, brick and stone.

Gender Bender

In Shakespeare’s plays a man could be

A handsome boy, a maid, or gender free.

For women were not allowed on stage,

A woman as herself would society outrage.

 

With that in mind, the Bard wrote plays

That blurred the boundaries of straights and gays.

Where men loved women, who were actually men,

Who then, pretended to be men again.

 

What a merry dance of love led he,

Its gender was fluid, he, she or thee.

His audience liked romantic thrills,

And it suited his lifestyle and paid his bills.

 

For there, within his work could he,

Explore the possibility of love set free.

Wherein the duality of life he sought

Fame and fortune to him brought.

 

A happy man he, in either life

With a lover and a dutiful wife.

Successful, with no need to ration,

The master-mistress of his passion.

Kissing (Deprived Of)

Of course I’m missing kissing…

I miss kissing every day.

I try to think of other things,

But the desire won’t go away.

 

I’m going out for healthy walks,

I’m doing lots of reading.

But when I think about your mouth

It’s not just my heart that’s bleeding.

 

I am obeying the Lockdown,

Big chunks of my life are missing,

But of all the things I’ve sacrificed,

Worst of all… is kissing.

Coronavirus – A Living Poem

I’m writing a living interactive poem in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. To do this, I will need your help. I devised this unusual format for a poem I wrote for the London Olympics in 2012, which was filmed by the BBC. You can see it here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-norfolk-18355116/wells-next-the-sea-performs-london-2012-olympics-poem. The written version can be found here: http://www.lgbtpoetlaureate.org.uk/going-for-gold/.

We are now living in a previously unimaginable and disturbing period of our history. I intend this poem to bear witness to our personal experience and tenacity during it. Your responses to this questionnaire will be, in part, the content and driving force for this poem.

If you’d like to take part, the link to add your submission is here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc81sEXQbGEQpj9xRcRQpfWti-M3GMvgW3Iygk_6VY0xNOo3Q/viewform. The finished poem will be about and for us all, whatever our age, colour, politics, religion or sexuality. All submission will remain anonymous.