I’ll possibly extend this later, but I just wanted to get some ideas down. You can probably tell which theories about Shakespeare/Marlowe’s lives I buy into based on this.
He sits alone in a dimly lit room
His eyes narrowed as he writes through the gloom
Left his wife behind in their second-best bed
Others wonder if their marriage is dead
When he writes words of love for a dark-skinned girl
And for a golden-haired Southampton earl.
He owes far too many men to count
His minor crimes start to amount:
A darkened jaw from a brutish fight
They call him heretic. Maybe they are right.
He’ll meet his end on a liar’s knife
When a tavern brawl will take his life.
Kit first, in the tale of a king
Time will make it a significant part:
For Will will be second and far behind
With six years’ worth of a heavy heart.
They will both write those words in blackest nights,
Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?
Another old Shakespeare-inspired piece, though this is a piece of prose about the magical island of The Tempest.
The beach shimmers like a mirage, with a gentle golden haze about the sand and the softened sharpness of pine leaves. The seawater creeps along the shore, depositing shells when it recedes, coming in and out like air into the lungs and just as naturally. White foam bubbles up on the rocks, reaching longingly for the trees that pepper the beach. Castles of clumped sand are built by the sea, with human hands never touching them. There are no footprints on this shore.
Sunshine blistering hot and bright, and something whispers among the trees. Ghosts of the woods or ghosts of the mind? The sand soon fades into luscious green, and sometimes Miranda stands in it, alone, the blades tickling her ankles and her toes sinking into gravel. The scent of salt reeks in the air. No-one here notices it anymore. There are so very few people here and there has been no-one new in an eternity.
Sometimes it flickers, like a dream about to be forgotten in waking, and for a moment there is nothing but darkness and the chaos of nature; but then it subsides and the tranquillity returns. The sun always burns like the devil’s eyeball, and there is escape from it in the dank holes in the rock. The great lake offers no relief, it only stinks more in the blazing heat. There is little fruit to be found, and it is sour. It was not always like this; the leaves in the breeze whisper a wistful tale of life before magic warped the world. Once in a while, one leaf drops; it slides on the gusts of wind down to the sea and bobs along on the crested waves until it escapes this land once and for all.
There is a flickering amongst the waves, bright green and red and silver. It is the fishes who come to spectate, an audience to Prospero’s golden world.
I’m not a fan of The Taming of the Shrew, despite being a massive Shakespeare buff. This was a second year assignment, so it’s a little old. I had a lot of fun with it! I decided to write an internal monologue for Katherina, intended to be read alongside the original speech that she gave in Act 5, Scene 2 of the play. Based on the reading of Katherina not being truly sincere in her final words of wisdom about being an obedient wife, I aimed to not only write about what could possibly have been her true feelings, but also attempted to mirror, parody and offer alternate readings of the original text in order to relate back to it and help present it as a partner to the original, rather than just a rewriting of it.
It may be that I am imprisoned now
And shall never break the truth to another.
Lord, king, governor, you need not fear a wound
For I reserve the blow for my gaoler.
He moves me to more painful labours
But I shall lie and take them without a sound.
No! I’ll not stir when his hands break my peace
And take his desires till I start to hurt.
He is free within the confinement of our bedroom
And I am free between the four walls of my skull.
He cares not for me, for gold in his eyes
Is the most wanted prize; his heart will not race
At the sight of me. Thy husband is thy death,
Thy damnation, thy only enemy;
If I offered war I would be struck.
A body soft and weak and smooth
Is a defence of a worthy, strengthened mind.
No power in my arms but plenty in my thoughts
I need not strike with my hand to break his spirit.
Place down your lances, they are useless here
A smirk, a glance, a word will do damage enough.
Be not a lowly knight, but a divine queen
Who takes life with a smile, not a sword.
Keep thy mouths closed, my prison-mates,
Thy words waste not on strong, empty heads.