Shakespeare - Pandemic reflections

A poem for a brief moment


To mask or not to mask, here's no question.

Whether 'tis nobler for the throat to suffer

The twill and rubber of protective cotton

Or to take hand against this veil of troubles

And by dislodging free us; to speak, to sing

Yes more; and by a breath to so begin

The chatty, and the thousand natural talks

That tongues are heir to? 'Tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wished. To speak, to sing

Perchance to blab; Aye there's the rub,

For in that song of life, what verse may rise,

When we have shuffled off this noseful tent?

Might give us pause; take account

Of this calamity that brings short life.

Will we jump-start our ethos,

Aloha oe, poet stirrings,

Child's prate, witty roasts, and

Ancient rites again to light the way?

Or may we promise the dying

Not to vent the smog and preen again,

To swear to let life itself live. Is this

Virus to us, what we are to Mother Earth?

Where can she self-isolate?

The undiscovered cosmos, from whose bourne

No traveler has ever been, puzzles the will,

And makes us rather bear those ills we have,

Than launch to others that we know not of.

Thus customs do make cowards of us all,

And thus the native hue of Resolution

Is sicklied o'er, with the pale cast of Thought,

And enterprises of great pitch and moment,

With this regard, their Currents turn awry,

And lose the name of Action.

  • Thinking of William Shakespeare (April 1564 - April 1616) during this time. London theatres shut down during the bubonic plague of 1606. His youngest brother, Edmund, an actor, died of the disease. Twenty shillings was paid for his burial (possibly by William) at St. Saviour's in Southwark, "with a forenoone knell of the great bell." (Wikipedia)

Peter Charlot came to Volcano in 1986 from his hometown in Honolulu to write and direct a play for the Volcano Art Center on Dr. Thomas Jaggar for the 75th anniversary of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Items and ideas for content are welcome. Contact;

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