Three Poems By Dan Campion

                                    The Sexton

The Prince appears with friend in tow and asks
me who a skull belonged to, trusting I
would know. I answer, thinking fast. He tasks
the poor bones then with many words I try,
the opposite of actors, to forget.
That mad grin might have been of Yorick. Or
Sly Tom, my predecessor. Better yet,
that wet nurse to our French ambassador.
Truth is, I had no clue whose head it was.
I wonder, now I think on it, the Prince
believed me. Only, possibly, because
our script required he do. That’s long time since.
Me, I’m still waiting for my stoup. Bone-dry
am I, my fellow clown gone by-the-by.
                                  The Cordelias

Our efforts come to nothing, we rejoice.
How can there be enough of nothingness?
We add our mite as if we had a choice,
and nothing answers us with a caress.
About those efforts: Who did we impress,
or try to? When our eulogies are read,
if we’re so lucky someone thinks to bless
our honesty, our vacuums quickly spread
among the hearers, and if tears are shed
they’re wiped away or else evaporate
no matter how affecting what’s been said.
Sleep comes to even those who stay up late
recalling things and nothings we once shared,
our nothings catered to, no effort spared.
                               The Man from Stratford

He’d rather not be Shakespeare but was cast
despite his wishes. In that role he earns
a living and some plaudits, ages fast,
but doesn’t falter as the great Globe burns.
The thatch was bound to kindle, then to catch
and set the place ablaze. You needn’t be
a genius to perceive there was a match
between that stage and tinderbox, or see
the flaming world reflected in its mirror.
Dry wood and dry wits flare at merest spark,
igniting Southwark. Nothing could be clearer.
The fire subdued, smoke rises through the dark.
The spirits of new theatres churn there,
all named The Globe, each compacted of air.

Dan Campion is the author of Peter De Vries and Surrealism and co-editor of Walt Whitman: The Measure of His Song. Dan’s poetry has appeared previously in Grand Little Things and in Able Muse, Poetry, Rolling Stone, Think, and many other magazines. A selection of his poems titled The Mirror Test will be published by MadHat Press in 2022.


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