One Man's Story Told in Iambic Code

(Phantom Macbeth, exhausted, appears in front of a young woman
with a piece of well crumpled paper)

Can you clearly see me here, my young maid?
Nay, don't recoil.  Why art thou so afraid?
Doth thou not know this harbinger of death?
I was King of Scotland.  Aye.  King Macbeth.

Please spare the time.  Listen to my story.
Decide if t'was infamy or glory.
I was before hailed a hero of war
Defeating Norway on our sacred shore.
Having seen many brave Scots wracked on stones,
'twas my misfortune to encounter crones.
Hags, three at once, blotching the cursed heath
(Strange of face, heinous, with barely any teeth);
Hailing, 'Thane of Glamis, Cawdor, Scottish King'.
For my ambitious ear, a beauteous ring.

What was it that had made me so afeard?
Green sweat from gold eyes dribbled on my beard.
Foolishly to wife I sent epistle.
She pinned't all like spurs stuck in a thistle.
Duncan in our castle was done to death.
Stabbed.  Slashed.  Ripped apart.  Slain by me:  Macbeth.
There I made errors I could not survive.
Fleance got away and he is still alive.

Ah, yes.  We launched a murderous spree.
Banquo, Lady Macduff and her babies.
I wanted to cherish humanity;
Ending only with alms to vanity.

Ghastly visions surged.  I was unable
to hold calm chat at my own meal table.
Poor, Banquo, poor friend, left at centre stage;
Flesh rotting in lumps, cumbling with age.
Forever since my mind has been haunted.
Macbre, surreal dreams openly flaunted.

Lady M, with acid wit, viper tougued,
Grew ever scornful now her trap had sprung.
At night she walked:  She stalked whilst washing hands;
Whispers of her madness raced through our lands.
Not long after news spread to Dunsinane;
'Lady Macbeth is Dead.  Driven insane.'

The English hordes were now at my door.
Did I ever cower?  No.  Not from war.
'Until Great Birnam Wood walked against me',
I would reign over Scotland; staying free.

Confidence heard crack.  My doubts well seated,
'Twas that moment when I was marred.  Cheated.
'No man of woman born could cause my doom!'
Doesn't every person come from a womb?
With allies deserting:  Frail cowards fled,
'Twas then Macduff sluiced off my royal head.

The moral's seen.  Must now be written plan:-
Don't let power and greed destroy your brain.
Don't listen to plans of ambitious wives
If you place any value on your lives.


Peter Bradbury
HMP Woodhill

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