Thursday, September 9, 2010

Shakespeare at Large

In honor of Rosh Hashanah and the thousands of apple-and-honey calories I've ingested today, here is "Sonnet XVII: Shakespeare Channels His Jewish Mother" by Maya Alexandri. It's sure to become a High Holy Day classic:

Sonnet XVII: Shakespeare Channels His Jewish Mother

Who will believe my verse in time to come,
If it were fill'd with your most high deserts?

Bubbalah, you're so beautiful, nobody would ever believe it without seeing you!

Though yet, Heaven knows, it is but as a tomb
Which hides your life, and shows not half your parts.

Not that your gorgeousness is as anything to your intelligence and wit, so what's the point in talking about it anyway?

If I could write the beauty of your eyes,
And in fresh numbers number all your graces,
The age to come would say, this poet lies,
Such heavenly touches ne'er touch'd earthly faces.

I say anything even a little bit accurate about you, and Masha Finklebaum accuses me of exaggerating your merits, but what can you expect of a woman whose own daughter has been on J-Date for a decade without meeting anyone?

So should my papers, yellow'd with their age,
Be scorn'd, like old men of less truth than tongue;

It's not that I mind the gossip mill at the Maazel-Tovel You're Rich Enough for Assisted Living facility in Short Hills . . .

And your true rights be term'd a poet's rage,
And stretched metre of an antique song:

. . . but when Masha says there's as much truth in what I say about you as in an Isaac Babel story, it gives me tzuris.

But were some child of yours alive that time,
You should live twice;-in it, and in my rhyme.

So, nu? When are you going to give me grandchildren?

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