Over the years I have been thinking, in retrospect,
of the Pub King Lear, in the small town Stratford-upon-Avon
where a gray-haired man with a beard grabbed me by the arms
and whispered into my ears. Sir, could I put my bill
into your account? Here is Stratford-upon-Avon and I saw
the celestial phenomena from the brown refractive beads
of your bracelet.
William Shakespeare was a man of true existence.
Can you smell in the air the breath of the tempest
that Miranda experienced ?
The hut he lived in, the fireplace, the desks and chairs,
the bed and the short table all give off
a dramatic sense of his time.
Should you go to Riverside Plaza, behold the fool
beside the fountain. Irresolute and hesitant
he is holding the skull, brooding over the ultimate question.
For years I remember this tired and hoarse voice
alcohol–burnt, in a reduced and frustrated pub
as if seeing in a phantom a world
I cannot possibly comprehend
hidden behind this world.
At night I dream of life, of death,
of reincarnation and of liquor that I shall never access
red as blood, flowing into a glass
without a bottom.
2016, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, UK
About the author:
Shilin Ou is the author of two poetry collections, i.e. Scene of Incidents and Tell Me About Jerusalem. He writes poems, prose, essays and commentaries. His work appears in major Chinese literature magazines such as Poetry Monthly, Flora City and Chinese Literature. Being a bilingual writer, he also writes and publishes English poems in countries like the USA, Australia and the U.K.