The Telling

By Bob DeWeese

Diamonds are the light the lantern holds.
The flame is the hardest thing to see
but seen once can’t be wished away.
The man who should be in the lantern
is the ragged man, the tailor’s son
with diamonds on the shirt
his mother made
and moonlight in his eyes,
for secretly he is the Jack,
dreaming of the King’s daughter.

Hearts are for the blood she spills
when she pricks her finger.
The drops turn into apples,
she cuts them open and in
their hearts she finds the eyes
her blind doll lacks, to match
her raven hair. Her bright red
blood has come at last and
opened her eyes. The apples
will be her gift to the Jack,
for he is a hard card to play.

They are in the very wrath of love.
Clubs cannot part them
but must be used to guard them,
for the night is very thick, and
the lantern’s flame is weak
with exhaustion. The watch
nods to sleep, and the low growls
of the beasts that smell blood
do not wake them. The crosses
on their swords are black and
invisible in the dark, and the moon
is down. The beasts are hungry.

Enter the Friar, with a lantern, crowbar
and spade. He tries to open the tomb,
but he is discovered, and must lay
all his cards on the table. He holds
the dead man’s hand. Her blood
on the stones reminds him of roses.
At the center of her eyes
as he closes them
are small black seeds.
This is the sowing time, and
he must play the gardener.


Bob DeWeese just completed his 15th year of doing Shakespeare with teenagers. With his family, he owned & operated Melville & Co. Books in Port Townsend, WA for 26 years. Bob is also the proud father of the new Assistant Professor of Poetry at Wright State University, Christopher DeWeese.

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