“Lear’s Wife” – W.S. Merwin‏

by richibi

King Lear” is one of my favourite Shakespearean plays,
its only inspiring rendering however has been Kurosawa’s
Ran“, a Japanese rendition, with some inspired literary
adjustments, that tells the tale better nevertheless than
I’ve seen anywhere before
 
but this 2008 production with Sir Ian McKellen seems at
very first glance a worthy contender, I’ll have to watch
 
 
I was reminded by this poem that Lear had never been
given a wife
 
here she finally is 
 
 
Richard
 
                      _______________ 
 
 
 
If he had ever asked me
I could have told him

If he had listened to me
it would have been
another story

I knew them before
they were born

with Goneril at my breast
I looked at the world
and saw blood in darkness
and tried to wake

with Regan at my breast
I looked at the world
and covered my mouth

with Cordelia in my arms
at my breast
I wanted to call out to her
in love and helplessness
and I wept

as for him
he had forgotten me
even before they did

only Cordelia
did not forget
anything
but when asked she said
nothing

 
 
                  W. S. Merwin  
 
 
 
 
 
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