Forgotten High School Lesson Relearned


High-school-mandated Elizabethan slasher play,

a lousy father who raised an eye-plucking daughter,

and gave another daughter a name that to me sounded like gonorrhea.

Old King Lear, led by a fool, and all of them talked funny.

I giggled in the back row and hid my face behind the textbook.

I got a D-minus on the unit test.

So what? I passed

then quickly forgot that incomprehensible play.


But lately I've been recalling that third daughter, Cordelia.

How the broken old king held a mirror to her lips,

a mirror sterile of her living breath.

Though I have no daughters and need no fool to call me fool,

now each morning in my mirror

I see what Lear saw in Shakespeare's looking glass

and even further.

Yes,  friends betray and I grow old.

But my warm breath still  fogs the cold glass.

And beyond the mist my Cordelia is not yet dead.

Richard Fein

If you have any comments on this poem, Richard Fein  would be pleased to hear them.