Celebrating William Shakespeare
on the Four-Hundredth Anniversary of His Death
Four centuries gone, but still we fill our lungs,
vying to offer praises just to you.
You enrich our minds and silver our tongues
and help our souls enlarge a little, too.
As English speakers in a brave new world
of cyber snares and near-constant streaming,
we raise pixilated banners, all unfurled,
in homage to you, who sets us dreaming,
bequeaths us gems like “All the world’s a stage”
from the golden casket of the First Folio;
allows immortals to leap off the page.
(Recall those capers cut by grim Malvolio?)
Today, we’re all your inheritors still,
receiving from you, sweet William, what you will.
Today, April 23, is the day I (like most people) celebrate as Shakespeare’s birthday, and it is also the day of record for his death in 1616. After seeing Hamlet at the Guthrie (with Randall Duk Kim in the leading role) and then two classes at the University of Wisconsin–Madison with Professor Standish Henning, I had fallen in love with Shakespeare’s sonnets and his plays and knew it was a lifelong passion.