The Preview

Christopher Marlowe
Christopher Marlowe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m sorry, but I think you’re in my seat. OK, let’s
have a look at your ticket. Oh yes, that’s it, you
need to move along one. Thanks very much,
no harm done.

Ah, looks like it might be a full house tonight.
Maybe it’s the intrigue surrounding the play.
What do I mean? Well, you know – Cardenio,
and all that. One of his supposed ‘missing’ plays.
Apocrypha, I believe that’s the right term,
although that word always sounds so medicinal
to me! Anyhow, what I mean is, it all seems a
little too suspect, if you want my opinion,
something they’ve cobbled together from
various sources, though I’m sure it will be
enjoyable all the same. Better than reading Don
Quixote again, at any rate! What was that? You
think it is pretty close to the original? Right. Well,
we will see. I mean, who among us has read the
original? Oh, I see. Mn.

But then of course, there are still those who
believe he never wrote any of those plays.
And you must admit, you can see where
they’re coming from, can’t you? Well, he was,
after all, relatively uneducated, say compared
to Fletcher, even Ben Jonson. Could he really
have written Hamlet or King Lear, or described
places like Italy so well without ever setting
foot there? I have my doubts.

I say, are you feeling alright? You’re looking a
little off colour.

Actually, if you don’t mind me asking, have I
seen you here before? Maybe in town
somewhere. I thought so! I do apologise if I’m
staring but there’s something about your face,
your eyes. That hairline. And the beard. Wait!
Do you know, you’re the spitting image of that
portrait of… they found in Corpus Christi…

© copyright David Francis Barker 2012

* some time ago we went to see the play Cardenio at Stratford, which was based on parts of a play which may have been written by Shakespeare, which itself was based on Cervantes’ Don Quixote. I imagined myself in the theatre talking to the ghost of Christopher Marlowe, who some believe to be the real Shakespeare. Complicated, it is! But then real history always is, not like the myth that we are presented with most of the time at school and elsewhere…

Grieving


Anne Boleyn? Hans Holbein the Younger [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

(a response to Holbein’s sketch,
purportedly of Anne Boleyn)

So, is this really you? Those full lips
well kissed, I have no doubt,
your pretty duckys hidden, fit for ravagers
we call kings. Holbein’s profile, it
simply shines your intelligence, courts
with language, love and ideas,
perhaps a little too much for kings
and enemies to take, at a time
when your sex are meant to be
little more than slaves and vessels
for petulant princes.

But no one can stop me grieving:
I imagine you blink, turn
and smile at me. Oh,
you are strong and keen, yet tender
and kind like all mothers
and lovers should be. No wonder
other men may have dreamed
on those lips, carried away
by your verve, which only victors
ever get to call treason. Now I wish
I could touch your fine chin
and whisper: “Elizabeth—
remember Elizabeth!” My words
vanish into air like justice, while you
stare blankly through Traitor’s Gate;
but this little girl takes the better part
of you, better than any king before
or since, of this abject state

poem © copyright David F. Barker

Poem ‘Wordspiller’

The Old English epic poem Beowulf is written i...
The Old English epic poem Beowulf is written in alliterative verse and paragraphs, not in lines or stanzas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wordspiller (for Christopher Marlowe)

So you are the spiller of words, almost
as far from me as
Beowulf is to you.

Wordspiller, your crosspose outstands me,
but I backthink
the falling choirs where you sadwalked

your summerwaiting mind, to
when your glories were mere
airthought,

like the Greathallow who once
shorestepped there
to see for himself

your forliving Angles (he oncebethought
angels) and their saxon King
Ethelbert redeemed to newspells that

you mindweighed as truthless.
Now I meet your clearstead gaze; for
the muse which stretchfed you

has not alleaten you yet

poem © copyright david f. barker 2012

Giacometti meets Gandhara

Two paintings I’ve had on the go for some time, having made various changes. Well, here are the latest efforts (see Current Original Art). The first, Edel Blau, or Noble Blue, is in mixed media but essentially acrylic. I have created some interesting textures with the use of paper and fabric around the edges. Who is the subject? Well, that would be telling.
The second is of a Buddha’s head in acrylic, based on the Gandharan artistic tradition of Western India from about two thousand years ago. This was a melding of Indian and Greek art as a result of Alexander The Great’s eastern conquests and the spreading of Buddhist philosophy East. I am not sure where I got the idea of the orange cells. Are they honey cells, perhaps? I don’t know.