To the Londoners
Shakespeare’s play, his twenty-fourth —
Time is writing it impassively.
By the leaden river what can we,
Who know what such feasts are,
Do, except read Hamlet, Caesar, Lear?
Or escort Juliet to her bed, and christen
Her death, poor dove, with torches and singing;
Or peep through the window at Macbeth,
Trembling with the one who kills from greed —
Only not this one, not this one, not this one,
This one we do not have the strength to read.
Translated by Donald Michael Thomas