Shakespeare 400

In London’s Leicester Square a statue stands
of the immortal bard. Upon its head
a city pigeon, grimy sky-rat, lands,
prepares its load of excrement to shed.
To heaven might the statue raise its eyes:
“Dump on me, if you must, but not my words!
An easy thing it is, to criticise
when your sharp quills have never formed a verse.
Please spare the books upon which now I lean –
they prove to all that, once, a man here dwelt
who strove to know the hearts of human beings
and, in his work, to capture how they felt.”
The pigeon voideth not, but flies away.
The statue, unsoiled, smiles. Happy Birthday!

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