My Tongue Will Tell

A few weeks ago we announced that Shakespeare ZA will be publishing new work by South African poets that responds to Shakespeare’s plays. In this second installment, Lauren Bates weaves her own words into lines from Kate’s speech in Act Four Scene Three of The Taming of the Shrew.

My Tongue will Tell

To the men who drown our voices with their noise

     Why sir I trust I may have leave to speak

To the men who say that boys will yet be boys

     And speak I will. I am no child, no babe

To the men who hide their failures in our pain

    Your betters have endured me say my mind

To the men who see our losses as their gain

    And if you cannot, tis best you stop your ears

To the men who leer at us with eyes of lust

    My tongue will tell the anger of my heart

To the men that blame us for our misplaced trust

    Or else my heart concealing it will break

To the men who build their triumphs on our loss

    And rather than it shall I will be free

To the men who nail us to another cross

    Even to the uttermost, as I please, in words

To the men who feel that we are theirs to take

    I see a woman may be made a fool

To the men who think that we are theirs to break

   If she had not a spirit to resist

Remember you who crush to gain control

Do desecrate the temple of your soul

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About the author

Lauren Bates is a South African English and Drama teacher, Shakespeare Scholar and Theatre in Education practitioner. After completing a second master’s degree in “Shakespeare and Creativity” at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-Upon-Avon, she has embarked on a PhD through Wits University to unpack the past, present and future of Shakespeare in the South African high school curriculum. Based on her experience working with the Education Departments at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, she has launched the educational theatre initiative Educasions.

Lauren is directing a production of Matthew Hahn’s play The Robben Island Shakespeare at the Artscape Theatre on 16 April and at the Baxter Theatre on 11 May.

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