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After Juniper had tricked her mother with a complaint about Shakespeare’s plays and their unsuitable content- see A Book By Its Covers, previous post- I remembered that I had had similar thoughts after reading King Lear.  What if Gloucester had telephoned for help on the cliff top?  Here is a poem I wrote when contemplating alternative strategies that he might have adopted:

Beachy Head

Hello…Samaritans.  My name is Mike.

Would you like to tell me yours…or just talk?

Gloucester?  Well, Glos., are you suicidal?

You’re in a BT phone box, Beachy Head.

Beaten up?  Red hot pokers in your eyes?

That must have been rather painful for you.

Someone has rubbed egg whites in the sockets?

Homeopathy can work for some folk,

but promise me you will see your GP.

You stumbled when you saw.  Very poignant.

The only person you can change is you.

The fact you have a friend waiting outside

who pointed out the sign and our number

and helped you with the digital buttons

must prove that you are an OK person.

Easy to get lost.  The mist comes down fast.

He intended to lead you to Dover?

Just because St. Wilfrid saw Saxons leap

here because of famine, no precedent

needs to be established.  Projection’s bad.

I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say that.

People from dysfunctional families

are the norm.  Some end up working for us.

Have you read “The Road Less Travelled”? Scott Peck.

Further Along the Road” is good as well.

You are not responsible for your son.

Hey, illegitimacy is all right.

You feel that you’ve misjudged your other son?

Iron John”: now that’s another fine read.

Go to Center Parcs and bond one weekend.

You didn’t get on with your wife? Pity.

“Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”

has quite recently been a best seller.

Yes, it should have been a semi-colon,

but Shakespeare got his apostrophes wrong,

so, we mustn’t judge others too harshly

and we must be tolerant of ourselves.

But you say your son mocks astrology;

had he been born under Virgo’s aspect,

he feels he would still have been a bastard.

(Should that have been a colon, I wonder?)

Everyone’s entitled to their own view:

certainly we would never express ours.

But, we can help you to clarify yours.

Bastards can have a nice side to them too.

Do you feel any better now we’ve talked?

There’s a pub behind you called “The Beachy Head.”

Go and speak to some samphire gatherers.

There’s always someone worse off than yourself.

Look at all the fingernails left on the cliffs.

Yours are still attached Oh, sorry, they’re not.

Take the Stagecoach bus to Eastbourne. Things change

come the morning.  You could take a short break.

You’ve gone off the idea of Cornwall?

You’re afraid of Goneril and Regan?

Look, the clinics are quite anonymous.

Have it checked out.  It may only be thrush.

Five hundred feet covered in six seconds?….

1471- Are you there, Gloucester?

We are always there, day and night.  Call again

English: Title page of the first edition of Ki...