~ Hamlet ~
Bright colors move before my eyes;
they breathe, they laugh
and so they must be people.
But the faces I see
are more like to masks.
Hard and brittle, bearing keen resemblance
A little more than kin, and less than kind.
The mask called Claudius is speaking;
ah, I see, he jests
with Laertes, a very noble man,
brother to the one soul
in this piebald company
who burns with anything like
the dark flame
that rests in my own bosom:
Laertes, brother to Ophelia,
and so one day my own brother?
He laughs with my uncle,
who now calls me son.
I think I’ll now call moon the sun,
and stars the yawning black between them;
that would make more sense.
If I went to Ophelia now,
and put to her that if this world is sane,
let us go from it together and be mad,
would she see the glory in that voyage?
It’s a nine-finger certainty
that no one else would.
Aha, brace up now,
for Claudius is done with his joke
and comes my way.
He lays a finger lightly on my dark garb,
my inky suit of solemn black;
that which mirrors within
the emotions that it can only outward show,
those but the trappings and the suits of woe.
“It is sweet and commendable
in your nature, Hamlet,” I hear his voice,
“to give these mourning duties
to your father.
But you must know your father
lost a father; that father lost, lost his.
To cling to grief too long
shows a will most incorrect to Heaven.”
Well, that’s a fine truth.
Spoken well, good uncle!
I would feel a sunny day coming on,
were it not that my mourning garb
is less to mark a man
than the weariness of breath itself.
Rivers born of dampened eyes,
together with all forms, moods,
shapes of grief
that can denote me truly.
The party mood would suffer
from such observations.
Is that a spot of dust I see
clinging to my uncle-father’s
remarkable smiling mask?
I should flick it away
or some might be appalled
at the thought his visage might be false.
And my mother,
well and well again,
she seems happy.
Or perhaps that now means sad.
What a conundrum the world has become.
I should return to school,
where Horatio and I might sit by the hour
hoping to breathe in wisdom.
But none of this can come to good.
I should not speak words in earnest
to players in a masque.
They might well think cruel
my true thoughts,
which could only be shaped to crack
such hearts and minds
of desperate glass.