by Marin Sorescu

Shakespeare created the world in seven days.

On the first day he made the heavens, the mountains, and the abyss of the
On the second day he made rivers, seas, oceans
and all the other feelings –
giving them to Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Mark Anthony,
Cleopatra and Ophelia,
Othello and the rest,
to master them, and their descendants
for ever more.
On the third day he brought the people together
and taught them about taste
the taste of happiness, of love, of despair
the taste of jealousy, of glory, and still more tastes
until they went through them all.

Then some latecomers arrived.
The creator patted them sadly on the head
explaining the remaining roles were for
literary critics
to challenge his good works.
The fourth and fifth days he kept clear for laughs
clearing ways for clowns
turning somersaults,
and leaving the kings, emperors,
and other poor wretches to their fun.
The sixth day he reserved for administrative tasks:
he let loose a tempest
and taught King Lear
to wear a crown of straw.

Some spare parts remained from the world’s creation
And so he made Richard III.
On the seventh day he looked about for something to do.
Theatre directors had plastered the land with posters
And Shakespeare decided after all his hard work
he deserved to see a show.

But first, tired down to the bone,
he went off to die a little.

Translated from the Romanian by Mark Woodside

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