Actors’ Aftermath : Celia Purcell


They mill in, a defunct Caliban and Ariel,

prop the bar and lean wearily

in our direction. “You were great,” I say,

“Were the false teeth anything

to do with that stutter, or was it

careful pronunciation?”

No-one lights up which is a pity

because such silence could kill lesser men.

“You’re a dope,” says Caliban

though I notice the paunch

and eyes strung out from footlights’ overdose.

Ariel is even thinner on the ground

but making headway through his Guinness

which he tells us improves a fairy’s lot

on having to sing etceteras of

“Where the bee sucks …”

More actors now and the air is thick

with cracks about agents

and Prospero’s farting at sea.

I mouth to Caliban again,

“What about those false teeth?”

and wish I hadn’t.

A whole Shakespearian bar is looking at me.

Gratefully received from Celia for our Big Lit 2020 Window Poems