Helen’s Workshop

Helen’s workshop was a tribute to the Bard, whose birthday it was on Saturday. I wonder if it is true that he died after celebrating his birthday bash with a tad too much enthusiasm. I do hope so – way to go, I reckon! Anyway, four hundred years on, he both challenged and inspired us last night. Helen had a variety of famous lines from his plays to see what we would do with them. The result was fascinating.

A couple of brave souls managed to work in most of the lines and produce coherent and entertaining stories, quite a feat. Then there was a really toe-curling story about a man who dieted until his skin puddled  around him , and a sketch encompassing Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and As you like it, which threw in Julius Caesar for good measure, or should I say Measure for measure? (Sorry!)

Falstaff and ‘his unbounded stomach’ was the trigger for several pieces. Along with the fool in the forest and being pursued by a bear, that was probably the most popular quote. Far more of the group than is usual opted for poetry, some with more Shakespearean content than others. The initiative of the group is a constant joy.

So, in celebration of both Shorelink and Shakespeare, I decided to publish two of the poems, both inspired by the Falstaffian theme and written in the twenty minute space at the workshop.  I would have loved to have shown more of the poems – but I can’t read the writing, we scribble apace at Shorelink!  Thank you, Helen, great stuff!

  1. Miracles, they say, are past

But hear my tale and know they do persist –

I count myself among the fortunate few

Who having twice approached death’s dark door

Was wrested from the tomb, back to life’s glittering shore

To live again.  And more, to live more fully

Each day with which I am so richly blessed.

And lest you should perchance still doubt my word,

The proof is here, upon this page –

I write, I live, I breathe.

I never thought to have such wealth,

Such riches as befit a King.


  1. Thou hast become too fat for thine own good,

Hast taken from the flagon and the roast,

And stuffed thyself with treats and fancies

Far too oft for sense,

And now thou art a porcine beast withall,

Thy belly walks before thee on the street

And leaves and enters every room

Full seconds before thou dost follow on,

Thou art obese, I will not spare my tongue,

And neither will thy heart ere long spare thee,

So what is to be done?

I do entreat thee, do not feast thy tongue,

But feast thine eyes on what thou wilt,

On trees, on moorland, or the setting sun,

On moonlight spread on water,

On the green sward and on corn full-ripened in the field,

Feast thine eyes on blossom and the bee that feasts within,

So feast thine eyes, and not thy gluttony.

Else feast thine ears,

Those instruments each side thine head,

Which hear all gossip and the peal of bells,

Thine ears which mark the wind at every turn

And can attune their drums to catch the beat

Of een such small a sound as may be made

By the clicking legs of crickets,

The soft breeze through the reeds,

And the reddened cricket ball against the willow.

Feast thine ears, and thou mightst hear

Soft whisperings of love when night has come

And all the weary wants of day are put to rest.

But do not feast thy tum, tis round and swollen

As this globe which we are walking on,

Its feasting days are done,

Even feast thy nose if the mood do take thee

And the air be right,

Turn thy nose to the rose and all its sweet perfume,

But turn away from gluttony, else, my man,

Thou shalt explode,

And a fair and pretty sight thou wiltst not be

If that should come to pass.

So feast thine eyes, ears, nose, but, if thou lovest life,

Do not feast thy tongue.




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