Archive for February 27th, 2016

The oath sworn by Shakepeare’s dad.

Chugging along through a new biography of Wm Shkspr the other night
(a neat concept, speculative essays by serious scholars
going beyond what little is really known and filling in the blanks imaginatively
using the most recent discoveries
about his life and times)
I was struck by this paragraph,
in the chapter about William’s father, John,
the last line.


A phone photo of a Kindle page, it’s a little fuzzy.

It’s about the oath of office for the office of Bailiff
that John was required to swear.

The line that got me reads:

“His oath of office was ‘to the uttermost of your cunning,
wit and power to maintain and defend  the liberties
of the same borough and shall do
equal right as well to the poor as to the rich.'”

Let’s bring this back.

cunning, wit and power
equal right as well to the poor as to the rich

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That one plant.

Most of the year an amaryllis is dormant,
doesn’t need water, doesn’t need light.
One by one they wake
of a sudden thirsty for water and for light.

They push out a leaf, or a few leaves,
and push up a center stalk absurdly tall
with a bulb the size of a human fist.


Sometimes there are two bulbs and two huge showy flowers open.


Just for kitchen company,
a rare blue Valentine’s Day orchid.


This plant flowered two weeks
before any of the others woke up,
in defiance of last week’s snow.
Necessarily one of them has to be first,
not infrequently way before the rest.

Like the dove let loose from the ark,
looking for enough muddy ground to build a nest;
or, for the amaryllis, sufficiency of sunshine.

Orchid blooms blue and precious beyond imagining

unless it’s from food coloring.

The little buds will tell.

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