Melanie Branton


A Few Beers with the Bard

I once met Shakespeare down the pub—
I saw him clear as daylight!—
And then I knocked back several pints
With England’s foremost playwright.

I thought that I’d be nervous, but
In fact, it isn’t hard
To relax and let your hair down when
You’re drinking with the Bard.

He’s an easygoing sort of guy—
He’s pretty chilled and mellow
And not the grumpy sod you might
Expect would write Othello.

He smiles when fans accost him (though
He must be sick to death
Of being asked to autograph
Their copies of Macbeth).

I asked him if he tippled much.
He told me drinking beer
Had stopped him going crazy when
He had to write King Lear,

But beer alone was not enough,
And so he’d had to spike it
With triple shots of sack or rum
To get through As You Like It.

When the barman called last orders
Soon after half past ten,
I picked up Shakespeare’s empty glass
And asked him, “Same again?”

He shook his head. “I’d better not,
In case more beers awaken
A strange desire in me to write
The works of Francis Bacon.”

Our parting words at Southwark Tube
Were fond and complimentary.
Then I went home to bed, while he
Rejoined the sixteenth century.


Melanie Branton is from the west of England. She has taught English and Drama in Poland and the UK and has written and directed plays at fringe venues in London and Edinburgh. She has won prizes or honorable mentions in a number of humorous verse contests.