Kent after Lear
Is this the promised end, or just an end,
All promise long forgot? How many lives
Can one surrender, lives on end, yet spend
More life? His spirit breaks, yet he survives.
Vex not his ghost. But I remember days
When he, behind the wheel of that Corvette
He used to pray to, howl-howled down highways,
Eyes arched to heaven’s vault, its stars no threat.
Break, heart, to see him roaming vast expanses,
Soul still unbound now bounding every mountain,
Up peaks where thunder stomps and lightning dances,
Voice raised to god still sure the sky must bargain.
If this same man is now but earth on earth
Why should his slave tread dust of so much worth?
Steven Gaultney is the resident playwright for The Theatre of Others; his plays include A Thousand Ships at the Bottom of the Sea, Limb from Limb, Negligence, and Adam’s Dream. This sonnet, inspired by King Lear, first appeared on the giant LED screens outside of Theatre for a New Audience in Brooklyn as part of Saint Flashlight’s The Will of the City project which paired playwrights and poets with Shakespeare’s plays.