Hamlet redux, ’tis not nobler

My deepest apologies to William Shakespeare, and to all those (I am one) who love the work of that genius. This is composed as a mash poem by combining two of one’s works or yours and another writer. Hence, that which contains the soliloquy from Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the poem “Faded from the vision” I wrote in July, 2008. For you poor Yorick. My gorge rises at it, thus the green for Bill’s words.


I am tired of feeling the weight of years
To be, or not to be–that is the question:
Like the muck sucking at my life’s boots
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
Each step an effort of defiance.
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Defiance is the oxygen to my brain.
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
To what purpose I have asked myself,
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep–
Does one choose that which they are to be
No more–and by a sleep to say we end
Or is choice only the pasturage of the wealthy
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
Unclogged with the principles of existence
That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation
The chains of expectation drag one into the mire
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep–
Shackled by the commitments for honor, for love,
To sleep–perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub,
Keyed and captured in the clanging of our words
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
Spoken only for lack of reasonable thought.
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
A dream scape flashes the past faster and faster
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
The projector dies trying to keep up
That makes calamity of so long life.
But the pictures have not faded from the vision.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Time does that when the bulb element ceases.

Copyright: 2009, Donald Harbour

10 thoughts on “Hamlet redux, ’tis not nobler

  1. Firstly Donald I don’t appreciate your accusation of my foisting hell
    on the eight grade.You were always a difficult student and I had to tweak your ears on more than one occasion.All those years of making you stand in the corner learning reams of Shakespeare by heart has paid off.Your poem was excellent 10/10 You have done me proud.As a mark of gratitude I would like you to write a Shakespearean sonnet using Ms Houlihan’s wordle as a prompt for next Thursday on New Formalism,Form and Structure in Poetry. I note from your photograph
    that you still refuse to wear your school tie.Kindly do so before attending the New Formalism group
    Yours faithfully,
    Mrs Stevens


  2. A very imaginative way to do this “mashing” ! Although, your original poem (which I re-read without the Shakespeare) was so very good on it’s own there was no need to mash…
    Hope will will join our merry band of “sonetteers” in the New Formalism group…I am tired of Ms. Stevens using me as the whipping post!


  3. Donald,

    I like how your lines function as both an updating of Hamlet to a more modern and [still] existential appreciation of life, and also as a waggish annotation of Shakespeare’s lines. Your tone is decidedly not histrionic (unlike Hamlet) which results in nice counterpoint (e.g. Or to take arms against a sea of troubles / To what purpose I have asked myself/ And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep/
    Does one choose that which they are to be…). The projector and element are great as banal and thus nicely ironic ending props.


  4. The mesh of your poem with these lines from Shakespeare’s Hamlet was an interesting mix. I enjoyed the varied viewpoints and the rhythm. Thank you for making it work so effectively, Donald.


  5. hi Donald, I couldn’t express it better than David. Your re-reading of Shakespeare with levity is a delight to read. I think it works because you leaven the ponderous weight that is life expressed by the Bard. You bring on the smile.


  6. I don’t think I’d be brave enough to put my poetry up against Shakespeare, but your lines more than hold their own and play off the soliloquy nicely. I really like the images of the chains and projector.


  7. I like that you took a risk mashing with Shakes ~~~ your words bounce off his quite effectively and produces a very unique verse. Nice kahones. 😉


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