Romeo and Juliet cannot
elope to Gretna Green when Act One ends,
and Desdemona can’t seek marriage guidance
counselling when Othello has his tantrums.
Hamlet’s depression can’t be remedied
with meds, or therapy, or meditation,
and Oberon can’t take his grievance over
the Indian Prince to the Small Claims Court.
Lady Macbeth can’t rid her hands of blood,
and laugh and sing and dance with gay abandon,
and Prospero is not allowed to turn
his old foes into frogs, or four-wheeled pumpkins.
Petruchio can’t do the washing up
then give a pair of trousers to his wife.
Beatrice and Benedick can’t take themselves
behind the bike shed to relieve their passions.
Sir Toby Belch cannot go full-on de-tox,
renounce the drink and go to AA meetings…
…And you and I, we all must live our lives
according to what’s written in our scripts.
*as in Shakespeare
[Trawling through an old notebook, and once again I came across a sizeable stack of abandoned, half-finished, unrealised, and ultimately forgotten, almost-poems. This is one of them.]