~ Horatio ~
Sleep has been a stranger
since the night on the walls.
reason and compassion have always been my gods,
and it is no small thing
to feel that both are overthrown in the world.
A world now peopled by specters,
alongside betrayal and madness;
yes, that is more than I have allowed
within the borders of my philosophy.
Yet they are inescapable,
and so I must find grounds
upon which to be a soldier of sorts,
prepared to be bold and steady,
silent when required,
and uniquely perceptive in mind
to things that thought may have no answer for.
My lord Hamlet bid me never doubt
that his own mind is sharpened, not ruined
by the figures and events
clustered now dark all about him.
But I fear for him.
Haunted he is now, of course,
more so even than I
who shared with him that vision
of dead that yet walk,
making heaven and hell no longer
the stuff of theology
but most immediate, and terrible.
That alone would shake
the greatest among us.
But more: that treachery, bloody deeds
and howling, echoing cries for vengeance
have rotted the very heart of his family
cannot but seem like test or punishment
grievous enough to crack stone,
much less a man’s soul.
I will stand by him
to whatever end these forces may contrive.
But when he speaks to me now,
even when no others are near
that might offer love and plot harm,
there seems no healthy curtain
that he might draw back, with a wink
from his seeming distemper of mind.
His bright light seems splintered;
his designs all fragments
made up of strange shards of brilliance
and obscurity beyond deciphering.
If the shade of his father
was a demon, full of lies,
then truth will out, and consign it back to hell.
If in verity it spoke
then that same faith
must consign others to the pit,
unless evil may, unmolested, be ascendant.
That I will never believe.
Now friendship must be strongest,
even if blind,
to travel these corridors of trouble
in hope there may be peace to find.