~ Ophelia ~
Well, and what indeed was that?
All run ratlike into a maze,
and I no more steadfast than any;
I wish to chase my father,
become a little girl again in his company,
and have him tell me
how silly all this is, like a bad dream.
But he is gone after king and queen,
and my mood changes;
I stand for what I think is a long time,
alone in the dark,
until I feel a burning wish
to shout out my frustrations to Lord Hamlet.
He is architect of this house
turned twisting upon itself; why?
So I go back toward the chamber
of that vicious play,
arriving just in time to see Horatio leave him,
while those erstwhile fellow students
from Wittenberg, arrive to crowd him close.
They have not seen me yet.
So Hamlet thinks me spy?
Well then, if he tasks me for a crime undone,
except out of love for him, had he the wits to credit it,
why not do it?
“Good my lord,” says Rosencrantz, “allow me a word with you.”
“Sir, a whole history.” Hamlet replies.
“The king, sir…”
“Ay, sir, what of him?”
“Is in his retirement marvelous distempered.”
“With drink, sir?”
“No, my lord, rather with choler.”
“Your wisdom should show itself more richer
to signify this to his doctor;
for, for me to put him to his purgation
would perhaps plunge him into far more choler.”
“Good my lord, put your discourse into some frame
and start not so wildly from my affair.”
“I am tame, sir: pronounce.”
“The queen, your mother, in most great affliction of spirit,
has sent me to you.
Your behavior has struck her into amazement.”
“Oh wonderful son, that can so astonish a mother!”
“She desires to speak with you in her closet,
before you go to bed.”
“We shall obey, were she ten times our mother.
Have you any further trade with us?”
But now my father joins them,
gathering about himself what air of command he can.
“God bless you, sir!” says he.
“My lord, the queen would speak with you, and presently.”
“Do you see yonder cloud,” says Hamlet,
“that's almost in shape of a camel?”
“By the mass,” my father replies,
though his eyes betray his irritation,
“and 'tis like a camel, indeed.”
“Methinks it is like a weasel.”
“It is backed like a weasel.”
“Or like a whale?”
“Very like a whale.”
“Then I will come to my mother by and by.”
“I will say so.”
“By and by is easily said.”
I find my stomach lurch to hear my father
indulge and patronize;
while Hamlet either mocks with more cruelty,
Finally all cease, and make their ways away,
my father watching avidly the prince’s departure,
after which he all but runs in the same direction,
seeming keen on some errand of his own.
I, losing my urgency toward action,
watch them go.
Who are these intimate, twisted strangers?
I do not know them any more.
The world has lost its shape.
No corner in it remains,
where I may go to seek for truth,
or for solace.