Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Another Shakespeare Poem by Rita Dove

Dove, Rita. "Blues in Half-Tones, 3/4 Time." American Smooth: Poems. New York: W. W. Norton, 2004. 97-98.

In this poem, Rita Dove weaves together allusions from King Lear, Hamlet, and Macbeth to make a kind of blues. As with the previous post, I don't have a ton of explication to add to the poem itself—I'll just let the poem speak for itself and hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.
Rita Dove (1952— )

Blues in Half-Tones, 3/4 Time

From nothing comes nothing,
don't you know that by now?
Not a thing for you, sweet thing,
not a wing nor a prayer,
though you got half
by birthright,
itching under the skin.

(There's a typo somewhere.)
Buck 'n' wing,
common prayer—
which way do you run?
The oaken bucket's
all busted
and the water's all gone.

I'm not for sale because I'm free.
(So they say. They say
the play's the thing, too,
but we know that don't play.)
Everyone's a ticket
or a stub, so it might as well
cost you, my dear.

But are you sure you lost it?
Did you check the back seat?
What a bitch. Gee, that sucks.
Well, you know what they say.
What's gone's gone.
No use crying.
(There's a moral somewhere.)

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Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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