They were playing Henry the 8th when the Globe
burned down. No one to telephone then;
his line had already gone dead. Shakespearean
turgidity – lot of old bathrobes in a bathtub.
And I too was tolled before my time.
Overdone and overdrawn, the dim librarian
tired himself out, flandering over and yon
across the expanding metroverse, so trim
and fat for Christmas – underemployed
American turkey lost in the wrong holiday
or underwriting some unwritten lawyer's lay:
"idle pens lace canyons have enjoyed."
And his heart finds no rest. Squandered,
a life spent prodigal toward no end;
a father back in Providence, but only pretend;
poet-laughingstock, he wandered, wandered,
happy, happy to be away, but whittled down.
A splinter from a Thames-borne vegetable crate.
Woodchip, waterlogged firewood, too late
for Roger's project (or the 1666 one).
And all around, in every swirling neighborhood,
the City roared its glorious Time is Now.
From blueskinned Briton to Imperial Scow
swift energies contrived – congealed and flowed –
a Monument – an image, multiform;
that one-armed admiral in his tricorn hat
astride the tallest pillar in the realm – now
that was a magnet (for the photostorm).
And nothing is real, except this frenzied splurge.
The city swallows up the flitting toothpick,
disappears him. Power is aristocratic, here –
a flash of showering silver bulbs. A dirge.
Globe Theatre, circa 2003
Shakespeare's Henry VIII