In all our sanctuaries we sit at risk


Here in the UK, knowing that it’s National Poetry Day today, I have just written the poem above. Things seem to happen faster in old age. The name Danby in the poem’s text refers to John F. Danby, a literary critic who wrote a rather wonderful book called ‘Shakespeare’s Doctrine of Nature – A Study of King Lear.’ The book’s scope and reach seem larger, somehow, than just literary criticism.

In the play, Edgar is young where Lear is old, but Edgar belonged to Lear’s court, he was of that played-out world. Well disguised, he accompanies Lear in his exile and stays with him on the heath and in the tempest. He doesn’t share Lear’s madness but all his privations he does. Through being broken with Lear, he is allowed to succeed him.