"Hamlet: Poem Unlimited"
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~ Horatio ~

I confess I am lost
in this world of minds broken, unbroken,
calculating and vengeful.
These things have turned my friend and my prince
into a force whose headlong rush
into disaster or redemption
I cannot stay,
cannot reckon,
cannot influence.
How long ago was it that he and I
leaned over our books, reading of these things?
Of Aristotle, who said of revenge:
“Men regard it as their right to return evil for evil,
and, if they cannot, feel they have lost their liberty.”
Has Hamlet so forgotten our great favorite,
Marcus Aurelius, who believed
the best sort of revenge
is not to be like him who did the injury?
In my heart I believe Hamlet knows this.
But he is driven,
and that is a burden to push any man
toward madness;
for that, in truth, is the nature of revenge.
Madness, or malice
and passion so great
that it is very like to madness.
I wonder if perhaps
he has not come to the belief,
even the resolution,
that he is to die.
Oh, that is hard, if true;
for that also must be a borderline of feeling
that once crossed,
makes the world a twisted place,
beyond hope for a morning
to follow night that that has become
brief, final, and full of pain.
That indeed would be the way my friend’s mind
might break;
knowing he must deal pitiless death
to an enemy, however deserving,
then that stroke must be pyhrric,
including his own ending in its thrust.
Then he could be true to Aurelius,
for Hamlet then would not be like his uncle,
who killed to gain pleasure and power,
and wishes to live, live, live
in impious freedom, to enjoy it.
If this is Hamlet’s goal,
can I, should I, do all in my power to stop it?
Or should I add my strength to his
in making it real;
burning us all in a great crucible
of justice?
There indeed is a world beyond
what I can find in philosophy.