~ Hamlet ~
Where is my resolve and faith,
so righteously burning and strong
when upon the walls the haunt did speak, then fade
and I swore it just remembrance?
Within an hour
in a form of terror (ill-becoming an avenger)
I sought then the comfort
of that most elusive chimera: belief.
Belief that love can rest upon more
than a core of ever-shifting darkness.
I wanted, above all, to tell Ophelia.
And yet when I went to her
and earnestly strove to share
what I have seen and heard,
my tongue stopped in my mouth.
Dumb, I tried to speak with my eyes,
and those too seemed to cheat me,
showing what must have seemed lunacy
to the one most of all
I wished to know me sane.
But am I?
The right says yes, the left no,
and then their positions switch,
each with the most damnably compelling arguments.
Ophelia, her father’s daughter;
that father who stands at the right hand of Claudius.
Ophelia, her brother’s sister;
that brother my uncle jests with so freely,
while casting me glances I now read more in
than I had once thought in innocence to forbear.
whatever the sins of father and brother,
Ophelia is innocent.
It must be so.
What we have shared in the night
can be nothing but the purest truth.
But as an innocent, is she not then surrounded
by those same enemies
against which I must contend?
If I bind her to me and they strike at me,
then so they will strike at her.
Her family as poisoned then, as mine.
Where is the mercy in this?
And cowardly to boot, denying
her own great heart; ravaging it
in the name of preserving it.
How I long to run from all this,
my hand in hers,
choosing blindness, forgetting all rash vows
that I should with heated blood, remember.
Shall the specter then appear
at foot of our fugitive bed,
naming me faithless before her?
Better that she be spared
from brutality that might taint and wound
all she loves;
better to hasten her from the sight
of torn and bitter, broken souls
working their wills in the service
of a grey-eyed, cold-handed mistress:
that sometime-whore, called justice.
Ophelia, forgive me
that I must in cruelty
hurt you and not even ask your forgiveness.
Because to do so would make you complicit
in that cruelty.
Vicious circle, round and round
till only hate could live.
And that most tragic of all.
I know that heaven and hell are no myth.
May there somehow be a heaven for us
beyond all this;
a place where truth is a light,
worn upon the brows of all who walk there.
May it be a place
where you could forgive me.