And Gutenberg Lived Here: Free Will

Yes, please.

Free him.

Shakespeare, I mean.

I am so tired of seeing form, content, beauty of the Welsh language,

(there have been studies for years about the Welsh flow of his language,

Welsh like the place and the  language,

not the other meaning of Welsh,

ie strange, foreign, occult)

being reproduced with actors on roller skates,

throwing innards,

folding paper crowns,

eating pies with a head sticking out.

Then there are the updated versions,

rap, slap, hip-hop, doo-wop,

to get the more modern audience involved.

Hey, guys,

if you have ever been in a beautiful, correctly lighted theater,

listening to the cadences-

you suddenly realize:

he didn’t translate Welsh to latin to English just for the fun of it

as a student in a day school-

he wanted to learn something.

And the Welsh schoolmasters in his pieces,

with their comedy, and lilt,

more than show the love of what he learned.

(I have often wondered where he learned the songs in his plays-

some of them are standard folk songs, and notated by the name of the melody,

others probably sung on the spot by a group who often went to others’ performances,

clandestinely, of course,

learned the entire set speech by heart on the spot,

and then performed it the next day.

Tall, thin, men,

with strong jaw,

and deep voice-

in a badly fitting half-laced up dress-

“Oh Romeo, my Romeo.”

They set theatres on fire with fireworks,

shot over the heads of the audiences

from rocking ships,

took their long dueling-

and bear-baiting-

physical moments

into the pit of the groundlings,

threw back the tomatoes,

and oranges,

thrown at them,

it was energy,

pure and powerful energy,

in a time filled with intrigue,


early death from rotting teeth.

The trees of Elsinore actually walked,

as the actors,

who had earlier in the day,

after the “Actors are in the city”  parade,

stolen into the local wood,

and “borrowed” a few,

for the soldiers of Hamlet,

or the “Scottish play”

or the lovers of my own favorite woods,

Arden forest,

to hide  behind,

as they creep forward.

Or shelter from the world.

I have often thought that the times of Shakespeare and Co,

the myriad of writers at the time who,

after his death,

all published a play “they had written with him,”

were the time of the original free love,

(or has no one out there noticed that Shakespeare, the dark lady Isabel, and a certain gent

from Essex ahem ahem…)

Seriously, it was a time of creativity.

Free thought.

Even if you did often have to avoid jail

and the censors,

by performing the results of the newest play

with a troupe wandering the continent of Europe,

often  visited  not for the new ideas and thoughts,

but for being the wild men of the theater-

an idea that still exists here in Gutenberg land,

if you mention the name Shakespeare.

And the Americans-

we like the freedom,

the creativity,

the joy,

the men not embarrassed to put on long dresses

and the women not embarrassed to wear mutton sleeves

and duel with the best of them.

We are in an age when you have to triple think everything-

is it wrong to have a black Iago,

is it wrong to think it is wrong to have a black Iago,

will anyone tear me to shreds on the social media

if I even think about thinking about having a black Iago.

This should be the age of freedom.

A time where we can say what we like.

Not linked to commercialism,

but as a way to better understand people.

It could be the dawning of a new age.

If we would all stop wandering around in fear.

Shakespeare used to read constantly.

He went to bars to hang out with the best authors and actors of the day,

he spent his time at court talking to the most learned of the courtiers.

His friends there look like a who’s who of the courtly  scene.

He wandered in the woods

and learned from nature.

The rhythms of the brooks,

the rustle of the trees.

All in his works.

He knew the link between paper pages and trees.

And fur and the ermine of court capes.

And of fishing, and codpieces.

He spent his time among the best of the best,

and always tried to be the best he could be.

His work is not inclusive.

It is all-inclusive.

And, at the same time, the most exclusive of the exclusive.

The best of the best only.

The King James Bible translation of the twenty-third psalm is his.

He and three other writers of the day,

with enough money to survive for a while,

holed up in a house in London,

to translate the King James.


And all-inclusive.

He fought knife fights in rough bars,

and danced at court.

And fought, and lost, the most exclusive, and personal battle of all:


By tumor.

Probably cancer.

Behind the eye, claims a critic,

using a print of him as evidence.

All inclusive, all exclusive, all personal.

All a search for beauty.

And flow.

And joy.

Isn’t it time we free Will?

copyright 2016

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