Sunday, December 30, 2012

Steampunk Shakespeare

Once upon a time, I saw a call for submissions for a collection of steampunk Shakespeare stories and poems, and, interested in all things Shakespeare as I am (and being rather fond of steampunk things as well), I submitted a poem for consideration.

Specifically, I rewrote Shakespeare's marvelous Sonnet 55 ("Not marble nor the gilded monuments"), which I have discussed at length in a prior post. While some of the other steampunk poems by other authors diverge in meaning or rhyme scheme from the original, I stuck with a pure Shakespearean sonnet (ABABCDCDEFEFGG), strict iambic pentameter and, to challenge myself a bit more, I kept the same meaning/form as Shakespeare, meaning that the interpretation of the steampunk version of the poem comes out tremendously close to that of the original.

Here, then, is my rewritten version, which is part of The Omnibus of Dr. Bill Shakes and the Magnificent Ionic Pentatetrameter: a Steampunk Shakespeare Anthology. (Availability can be found by clicking that link.)

Not iron, nor the Difference Engine
Of Babbage, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in this paean
Than metal or machine worn down by time.
When wasteful war destroys device or steel,
And brawls lay waste to clockwork artistry,
Not Mars's sword nor war's relentless wheel
Will wipe this record of your memory.
'Gainst death and grinding gears of enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall replicate
Itself in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending date.
  Till judgment day when you yourself arise,
  You live in this, and dwell in lover's eyes.

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