(for Dónall) Return To Stratford Upon Avon - Poem by Janice Windle
Fourth of July in Shakespeare’s Stratford -
we’ve driven up north from south of Watford
and patiently we join the traffic’s crawl
past rotund families, nose-deep in ice-cream cones
(measure for measure, the most expensive ones
in all of Merrie England, as I do recall)
The houseboats on the Avon nudge and creak
and swans with outstretched necks and hungry beaks
imperiously demand their royal due -
Darbies and Joans enjoy the Mail and Sun
with flask of tea or coffee and a bun.
But now we pass the toyshop – “Much Ado
About Toys” – its sign is just the start
of Stratford’s sights, that gladden poets’ hearts -
establishments that bear the hallowed names
of Marlowe, Chaucer, Dickens, Garrick, Nash
(with august men our heritage’s awash -
these shop fronts really are a Hall of Fame)
In Stratford’s centre, tourists have a thrill -
for near his birthplace, Shakespeare’s standing still -
and for a groat gives photo opportunities -
his fans line up to pose with famous Will
and stare and marvel till they’ve had their fill -
but now a sign declares – “Forgive me, please
I must away, be back in just a while.”
The reason (we cannot suppress a smile) -
he writes – “I need to go and do wee-wees! ”
A smiling waitress brings us our ice-cream -
we’re not surprised it’s “Midsummer’s Nut Dream”
As in the “Food of Love” we take our ease.
The Pen and Parchment pub’s our final goal,
where just a year ago I bared my soul......
he’s sitting by my side, my loving mate.
The anniversary of our first warm touch -
when Donall wore that kilt, moves me so much -
compared to him, for me Will Shakespeare doesn’t rate!
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