Category Archives: Hamlet

“As Summer Gains”

ophelia-fashion-1

“As Summer Gains”

As summer gains, Ophelia’s hours heighten in the weeds
Of something special strolling in the halls as her sweet prince recalls
The love they might have had and what conceals the serpent in the walls.
In daily season’s advents loyally are born fresh notions, spring’s sweet wheats,
Reminders of promissory notes to the many for whom they strive.
Given such gratuities, these comings’ true returns exact a toll where Piping Fates
Shed seeds of future cares and carelessness that takes
Exception to themselves. What they are is mirrored in the rising suns as trials,
Lethargy, fatigue, the burdens and annual fruits of winter fade. These fresh disks
Do not forget the coming harvests to be gathered, first in sudden growing sleeves
On gracious grateful trees, then in planted bounty crops that nothing grieves,
Their season’s fruits secured, their lofts restocked, and to these ends their bliss.
When Ophelia’s gown grows grappling heavy as it must, desire melds to peace:
In time she’ll choose an autumn’s leave, the end of love and Hamlet on his knees.

“Hamlet Asks”

“Hamlet Asks”

Hamlet asks if she is honest, if she’s fair;
The question does perplex the lady staring
At him while it happens that she’s wearing
His improprieties, while it happens on the stairs;
He frequents passages in what is advertised as home.
Still the question’s moot, Ophelia has no real idea
Of what it’s like to be a thing of less than beauty cursed; she’s a
Little foreign to the notion that one roams
Beyond the confines of what is truest north—
There are but two poles proffered by Gertrude as her husband’s only clues
And north must  be somewhere near the stove,
Her safety just beyond the storage bin that holds the spoons and forks―
No, she’ll pass on both the question and his gifts to what’s beyond the arras;
Rich gifts do not wax floors, nor is this prince so careless. She’s seen the banks,
Below, the river’s malcontent; above,
the winds’ reeds’re resonant
With restive cycles in all those reasons. So many eyes intent
On recognition of what’s lately seen when all is rank.
Still Hamlet gathers evidence back and forth along the way. Her prince questions nothing honed from stationary life;
He does not own a life whose questions never fade
Remaining here but seconds in his needling days
Of endless desert silences in a crowd or in audience to an empty city’s sirens.
That one is here implies that everyone else is there along the far horizon
Beyond the accidental mistaken substance dreams and death. Ophelia slept,
No mystic talisman comes to thwart the fall; His promise he has kept
To weed the present  neglected fallow fields and lighten pressures of neon nights.
In his peerless flight is knowing nothing of this life and spending his days in sporadic search for what in death poor Yorick must have felt.

.

Now get you to my lady’s chamber, and tell her, let
her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must
come; make her laugh at that. Prithee, Horatio, tell
me one thing.

HORATIO

What’s that, my lord?

HAMLET

Dost thou think Alexander looked o’ this fashion i’
the earth?

HORATIO

E’en so.

HAMLET

And smelt so? pah!

Puts down the skull

HORATIO

E’en so, my lord.

HAMLET

To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may
not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander,
till he find it stopping a bung-hole?

HORATIO

‘Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.

HAMLET

No, faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither with
modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it: as
thus: Alexander died, Alexander was buried,
Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is earth; of
earth we make loam; and why of that loam, whereto he
was converted, might they not stop a beer-barrel?
Imperious Caesar, dead and turn’d to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away:
O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe,
Should patch a wall to expel the winter flaw!

William Shakespeare
[1564-1616]

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, ActV, Scene 1

“So Great a Silence”


“So Great the Veins of Silence”

So great the veins of silence on the streets in this year’s dying
Days; a fresh upon fresh blanket of winter’s dews shrouding
Trees and sidewalks, weighting rooftops, goading gables. Clouding
Clotted skies both day and night show no respite. Incense of Abraxas plowing
Down liturgical calendars, disguised, the last uncertain week of this last
Uncertain year; there’ll be no other.  The funeral’s banquet’s not yet finished,
But come now impertinence in  wedding caterers as the neo-looming skittish
Markets address themselves to not so certain promises profit, and as the past
May be the mirror of the future, Hamlet’s wondering
At his own wonder in the thought so universally voiced,
“Can we really stand another year with the same old invoice?”
That it should come to this! Denial’s simple rites, the blundering,
Sundering ties to all that virtue knows in favour of what is known, flaunted
ignorance of both at once even to the gates of Pergamos and Ephesus:
Have John’s missives not arrived?
Are there no prisons, and still no workhouses?

 

“Humour Is Impossible”

“Humour Is Impossible”

Humour is impossible in the throes
of serious contemplation of the most potent question
ever asked on any secular page of literature:
“To be or not to be, that is the question,…”

When faced with such a query,
who will denigrate his own
imagined station and position within what is,
after all, a lethal situation for all of us?

The bourgeoisie cannot afford to ask the question;
the rich above the need of contemplation;
the poor too oppressed by the instincts,
the daily needs of hunting and gathering

simply to ensure a continued existence
in this world share  a modicum of
some comfort on the odd occasion.
The rich experience nothing because

every effort costs them nothing;
their pride, therefore, is rendered moot.
The bourgeois may well seek to own his world
in terms of expressions of what he imagines

the bailiwick of their betters,
and indeed, but fails to recognise
that ownership without purpose
sustained over a generation or two

is inevitably the prescription
for yet another application
of the Peter Principle
or the Dunning-Kruger Effect

and, as with poisons can provide
as great a lethal punch to the soul
as it can be in beneficial form to the body.
The poor experience the wonders

of life, struggle, and death but have no voice,
no language that does not promote
anything short of need at best, sedition
at worst when given half a chance,

and in the odd instance passing freedom from sheer want.
Witness: from a tax revolt in 1776, America did without its king;
1789, the French its monarchy and aristocracy;
1917, the Russians their czar, their aristocracy,
Their bourgeoisie yet all revolutions failed.

…But, Nymph in thine orisons be all my sins remembered,
strip away convention, then, and turn to prose….

Given all of the above and the advent of the credit card on the one hand, and ubiquitous Federal Reserve Bank Notes, the logical use and result of the invention of the printing press, what might have been humorous in the past has lost its flavour much like one’s wad of “chewing gum on the bedpost overnight,” simply because whether one addresses true tragedy or its counterpart in comedy, both rely on some helpful word as to what constitutes the intrinsic good or, in short, the presence of virtue and its ultimate outcome, nobility, vraiment…. Without such a word, we have no choice but to think nothing is too sacred to denigrate, belittle, or even to crucify, as the history of all of the many Prophets and Messengers of God, not to mention spiritual philosophers have experienced and met Their ends; what, then can be said of the qualities of the arts and sciences, and the “pith and marrow” of any given society on this planet?

In the end, what constitutes a poet if in fact the characteristics of the artists and sciences have been laughed to scorn just as those of the basic institutions from the kings, popes, religious leaders of all kinds, lawyers, doctors, teachers, nurses, librarians, professions of all sorts. Once one has laughed at God, Himself, it is difficult or even impossible to maintain any semblance of nobility; what should the present two or three generations expect but that after what amounts to almost continual world wars from the 1840′s and straight into the present hour? So much for religion, government, and so much for the arts and sciences, and ultimately so much for the sanctity of life, itself; if Hamlet had some difficulty in maintaining his sense of humour in a Denmark rotten to the core in its banquet days, what, then, can be said of the “remains of the day,” as it were, by the by, so to speak, as the crow flies, in our sweet time, …que çela reste entre nous deux?….

“Spectators”

“Spectators”

Spectators on the banks,
Below, the river’s malcontent; above,
the winds’ reeds’re resonant
With restive cycles in all those reasons. So many eyes intent
On recognition of what’s lately seen when all is rank.
Still Hamlet gathers evidence back and forth along the way…

The prince questions nothing in the stationary life;
He does not mourn a life whose questions never fade
Remaining here but seconds in the day—
In endless desert silences or audience to incessant city’s sirens–
And that one is here implies a demarcation on the far horizon,
No mistaken material substance as Ophelia slept,
No mystic talisman found to thwart the fall; His promise kept
To seed a cloudless day or lighten pressures in the bloated neon night;
His peerless plight, knowing nothing spends his days in endless search
and how poor Yorick must have felt.