The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0975 Friday, 5 May 2000.
Date: Friday, 05 May 2000 11:30:14 +0100
The eminent Northern Irish poet Michael Longley, some of whose texts
have appeared in The New Yorker, has a poem on Banquo's son.
I entered with a torch before me
And cast my shadow on the backcloth
Momentarily: a handful of words,
One bullet with my initials on it--
And that got stuck in a property tree.
I would have caught it between my teeth
Or, a true professional, stood still
While the two poetic murderers
Pinned my silhouette to history
In a shower of accurate daggers.
But as any illusionist might
Unfasten the big sack of darkness,
The ropes and handcuffs, and emerge
Smoking a nonchalant cigarette,
I escaped--only to lose myself.
It took me a lifetime to explore
The dusty warren beneath the stage
With its trapdoor opening on to
All that had happened above my head
Like noises-off or distant weather.
In the empty auditorium I bowed
To one preoccupied caretaker
And, without removing my make-up,
Hurried back to the digs where Banquo
Sat up late with a hole in his head.
>From Man Lying on a Wall (1972-1975)