A classically cliché but deliciously timeless question will always be, “who, dead or alive, would you most like to have dinner with?”. Typically, many people answer with some well-known idol of theirs or a departed relative, while simultaneously leaving out the menu for this momentous event.
Being this mere snippet of a flailing Shakespeare enthusiast, I would choose to dine with The Bard himself. Seated at a rickety table and browsing from an Elizabethan menu of braised pig heads, meat pies and rich stews, we would all the while be chatting over fine ale
(after I master saying “thou seeketh a palatable meal, my good fellow!”) in a candlelit hobbit-hole of some kind.
Now, with all of this “dining with the dead” talk set aside, I am here to provide you readers with the rarest of opportunities. You see, I wrote a poem some time last year as I was at the campus Starbucks around 9am. Having a minor stomache ache from the previous night’s lo mein, and sitting with a copy of Romeo and Juliet beside my laptop for class, I started writing a poem called “Dinner With Shakespeare” rather aimlessly.
Well, here it is:
I sit against the brick wall,
uncomfortable and yet, content.
An empty takeout box sits next to me,
pungent with spice,
and it leaves but a sour stomach, unsatisfied and bland,
but compared with his words,
the taste is as plain as rice,
and so I read,
a feast for my aching appetite.
My mind takes the nose,
my eyes ravage lips,
and I taste the words,
every syllable a cherry,
every word, a tart.
I feast on the books,
and let iambic pentameter
whet and satisfy.
So I read until I’m sick with sweetness,
despite having to go back for more,
to let the words melt,
turn to gravy,
too drunk from prose, intoxicated eyes.
I avert my sight from the very last page,
but he begs me to continue the feast,
as he points to the table, to the half-finished cup,
to the plate of cold meat,
and I sit, I read
until my eyes tire, drooping with blur.
I sleep after dinner,
and dear William tucks me in.
An obvious non-rhyming poem, I know, which is quite a contrast to the other 60 some-odd poems I have written in the past seven years, all rhythmic and rhyming. “Dinner With Shakespeare” isn’t one of my best poems, in my opinion, but in the end, it’s something worth keeping.
Rendez-vous à dîner!