Take Two

By Vickery, Lucy | The Spectator, October 23, 2010 | Go to article overview

Take Two


Vickery, Lucy, The Spectator


n Competition No. 2669 you were invited to take one of Shakespeare's soliloquies and recast it in the style of the author of your choice. This was an exceptionally strong field, with winners enough to fill several columns.

Honourable mentions to G.M. Davis, Mary Holtby, Laura Garratt and Margaret Howell, and £30 each to those printed below. Catherine Tufariello bags the extra fiver.

Miss Juliet Capulet, you are the sun,

With that sheen on your skin and your braids half

undone!

I'm a fool on a cliff, and you give me a shove--

Is it any surprise that I've fallen in love?

Your daddy looked daggers all night at the dance,

While I hoped and I prayed for tiniest glance

At your firm-muscled forearms and strenuous thighs.

Now you stand at the window, the sun in your eyes:

Though it's quarter past midnight, you'd think it was noon,

And the greeny-faced, chilly-chaste, envious moon

Looks queasy as I am, your servant in livery

Dumbstruck and weak-kneed and lovery-shivery.

How I wish I could be a glove warmed by your hand,

Or a shoe on your foot, or a wave on the sand

Between your strong toes as you kick me and run!

Miss Juliet Capulet, you are the sun.

Catherine Tufariello/John Betjeman

Death comes at us disguised as days

Advancing with their slow-march tread,

An infinite parade of strength.

In time we're ground to dust, always,

Like all the fools before, all dead,

Life clicked off in a last breath's length.

Our lives are nothing but a stage

For acting out our fears and dreams,

A sad illusion, soon destroyed.

Like idiots we shout and rage,

As if we did not know our screams

Would die to nothing in the void.

W.J.Webster/Philip Larkin

I'll use that bloomin' 'alf-wit to sharpen up my plan.

I wouldn't give 'im time of day, just chattin' man to man,

But 'e can 'elp me dish the Moor, 'oo as the gossip runs

Is at it with my missus like a pair o' gatling guns.

Call it just a barracks rumour, but to me it's all the

same.

A man I 'ate I'll 'ate buckshee, regardless of the

blame.

Yet a loyal and honest ancient is 'ow 'e thinks of me,

Which makes my scheme as easy as unwinding a

puttee. …

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