Saturday, February 28, 2009

Opossum or Not Opossum, That Is the Question


"A possum by any other name would still be a possum."
William Shakespeare

Today is a glum, grey, very still and quiet day. We've had several inches of rain, with the possibility of snow tonight or tomorrow. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. Everyone I know is ready for SPRING. So, where is it? Ah, Spring! I see thee not, and yet I crave thee still! Willie S. said that.

So, it looks like we're talking about the Bard of Avon.
Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. He then wrote mainly tragedies, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, until around 1609 when he penned his most renowned work, MacPossum, a dazzling work of brooding gothic drama which set the standard for all literature to come. That's why possums, all and sundry, can be heard to mutter, "Double, double, toil and trouble." as they fumble around the countryside, looking for some style of mischief to get into.

Here in Alabama, we are most fortunate to have in residence possums of the highest literary nature. Just a few nights ago, upon hearing a little marsupialesque voice quavering "Oh, do not swear by the MOON!" I looked out my back door to see who spake thus. Sure enough, my eyes were blessed with the sight of two little bardies, munching on cat food as they carried on such an urbane and sophisticated discourse! Who could not love a possum?

Back to the Bard; Shakespeare biographers have documented the indisputable fact that people were barely able to walk around the Globe Theatre without stepping on the tails of Shakespeare's many pet possums, who hung around the place, and were, at that time, believed to bring good luck to actors, writers, and artists.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.


6 comments:

Joanne Ramey Cage said...

Oh, come now, Greymalkin! Don't you know that 'possums are native to North America, specifically to the wilds of what would later be known as Alabama? Are you saying that Willy S. was a closet American? It's OK (by me) to say he was an Earl. Some would accept it if you said he was a well-known writer by name of Kit Marlowe. But an American? Out upon it!

Joanne Ramey Cage said...

P.S. If you drew that picture, I want a copy to frame!

Susan Ramey Cleveland said...

I want me a copy of that picture too.

Irene Latham said...

Hi Ramey - what a delightful blog! I'll be back.

Barry Marks said...

Ah, but the conundrum: is it opossum or possum or did the Bard, seeing Sir Walter's new pet as his ships returned from the Brave New World (take that, Joanne!) utter "O, Possum, O, Possum wherefore art thy true apothecary?" (or something).

Remarkable how two of Alabama's finest poets have time on their hands to quibble over Possum-ness. We need more poetry from you two.

I miss you both.

Barry Marks

buffy said...

I still like "A possum on both your houses!"