Posts Tagged ‘Hamlet’

Silent Tsunami

May 6, 2019

Explain this to me. Hamlet has been here
for two months now, shuffling around in
the gloomy recesses of Elsinore—dreaming of
a giant wave in a sea of troubles—and now,
all he wants to do is get the swords out and duel
in the surf. It seems he’s been taking lessons—
The better to smite you with, my dear—
and he will practice with Satan himself
if it will make his mind congenial to ghosts.
He wants to become a force majeure , my silent friend,
the waves of which might blow the sea into an eerie calm,
the gulls of which might fly far overhead in patterns
known only to themselves—flying lonely,
in a chariot of salts, pirouetting night
and day and backwards from day to night.


The sea withdraws its breath. The sand becomes
a dry protracted grave. All the living creature
flee back into the mountains—birds and dogs,
butterflies and bees. Those that remain

are lost in a single, silent perception.


A Dumb Show

April 3, 2019

Horatio is braggadocio
Personified. It’s hard to believe.
One minute, he’s cool as a mule,
The next it’s like he has invented silence—
But it’s a good silence, a probing silence
A void devoid of what Claudius needs—
A good cheerleader. When All the King’s Men,
Get together again to play the play,
The Murder of Gonzago—a play proforma—
When they come to castle—yes, you could say
It was like a chess move—they find
A king, lost in a world of choices, open to love
Open to time, to history, whatever.
Horatio, don’t brag, this brave new world
Could be a beautiful place if we could
Let it become a dumb show. Let it be
The quest itself. Let it be linked to a certain
detour.  Let it be like a troop of drooping
Crusaders marching back to England
Just in time for a new Crusade. \

This Jolly Rogue (A Dream Language)

March 23, 2019

Just as sleep can become a rock, only
A jolly rogue can become a dream language
large enough for what a nightmare stands for.
For what are dreams if not the ground
We stand and fight for, eh Horatio?\
And what a stone is, is what a rock can be
When divided too many times—pebbles, sand,
Infinity’s poundage, even a sea of waves—
To make no man a man, or at least to make
A man ground, porous and abiding.

 Horatio, our voyage is poised by the sea.
Its purpose is to provide a resting place

For me (that is, as secure as Claudius’ wife.)
We shall not be allowed a whip or whale
For a while…Besides it’s only pirates who can
Save us both from the pirated souls of
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. So, stand
Abaft the stern, Horatio. This Jolly Rogue
Will sink all of Denmark; it will let me bury and\
redream a kingdom yet to come. 


Staged Fight

February 23, 2019

Enter Hamlet, stage right. To be or not,
He has never acted in a play before.
And Horatio thinks he looks tired and wan,
Too worn down to murder Gonzago, much less
Kill Claudius. He looked more a model for

A stage hand than he did an avenging angel.
Still, a play is a play, and to sell them his version—
To grapple with them— along with
A wandering act of provincial players—
To Horatio seemed an odd way to convict a king

Or to believe a ghost. ‘Your honor,
He over reacted. He must be guilty.’
—of something, for the king could quickly claim
Innocence because of nonsense, a crime
Brought in churlish spite to play in a play.

Yes, the players could speak trippingly on the tongue.
And, sure, they could incorporate certain changes
In the text…. Or hold a mirror up to nature… but…
What of it? Listen: The angels are weeping, and King
Claudius was entertaining, and he is still the host.

Always Scream at the Sun

June 14, 2010


Look at that monster’s eye, Horatio; it’s like
reflections of sunlight from moon to sea
to clouds; it’s like reflections turned into
existence, a contingency—our thoughts
made real! Yet night is full of words, not spirits,
not selves. Today, I think you can safely tell Hamlet
he will not have vengeance on his stale breath
ever again. Write this with your eyes.
‘Ghosts need too much of the night sky;
dawn dissipates their power; light thus lances through
their skin—their skin becomes self defeating.
There could be no visitation on these
battlements last night, sir, for
old Hamlet’s ghost is nothing but a chill of air,
a big eye left to stare, to model empty space.
You can neither be a wife nor mistress here.’


That’s why I always scream at the sun, Horatio.
It lets the poetry come out. From night to day,
you know—the day, spreading o’er the dew…
a russet mantel…clad in light…

A pretty sentence for a pretty day—
prettily parsed—yon high eastward hill.
Just look around. That poetry lies in
the telling, lies in the play of the words…
There’s nothing portentous here.
Horatio? You’re pale as day.
Your eyes are nothing like the sun.


The speculation laughs. It is unearthly. He
might be a ghost himself, so pale,
so elusive—I’ll say it—so diaphanous.
He will walk with the phantoms many years,
unhousel’d, disappointed, unaneled.
As if we all were.


Can this be why we stand so close to ghosts?
They do reach out at me, Horatio!
They can be both Hamlet and not Hamlet!
Such vandalism! I too had a father who
must have had a father who had fathers…
And all in chains, Horatio, all dead fathers
and all in chains—and so on—back—back to
the egg. I too had a son.


But soft. The sunrise is upon us now.
Our watch is abrogated with the dawn.
It will be cloudy. It will rain. That eye,
ever so monstrous…
…well, Horatio, to sleep—
I know—perchance to dream—but those dreams must
be Hamlet’s dreams. Say goodnight to the cast,
to Bernardo, Ophelia—I won’t go through
the list. They will all die by the end of the play,
you know. They will rest in silence. All dead
except for you and me. And we remain—
remain to scream, I guess, for screaming is
like poetry…
We make it and remake it from the sun.