Poetry society

Anthony Wilson


I am minding my own business, putting out some rubbish, when it happens. An elderly man I know, a neighbour, appears out of nowhere, speaking to me. He is 83 if he is a day. He is well turned out, as he always is, full head of hair, silver, swept back in a matinée idol kind of way. He is wearing a pale summer jacket and crisp white shirt.

As usual, he doesn’t bother with small-talk; he just goes straight in: ‘I’ve just been reading some poetry you know.’

‘How marvellous,’ I say.

‘Shakespeare,’ he says, before I can ask him what it was. ‘The Sonnets you know.’

‘Which one?’

He begins quoting the poem: ”Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?/ Thou art more lovely and more temperate. / Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, /And summer’s lease hath all-”

He knows the words that come next…

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