Alas

Not to be so rude as to cast a shadow on Man,
There nonetheless comes a time when he sees in himself
The Dane — young Hamlet — and manic in health
Declares his woes to be the tragedy of life—
Sees himself stare back in the cold, silent knife
And quotes on his own what he himself wrote,
When he was Shakespeare lamenting,
Drawn brow, and full of bile in throat.
He deceives in himself a contrivance of fate,
Augury defining his actions, ability to respirate;
But Eliot said he was not Hamlet at all: a mere player
Who danced until the curtain did fall
And then was heard no more.
So when thinking of old Yorick’s skull,
I pitch another young man who held an exhumed brain case’s hull
And held it to the wind in the lines between pages,
Who dug with a brute who recovered in long, delirious stages.
No readiness to speak, no strange oaths to adhere—
This hollow existence led to his mind discohere:
This post-modern man never received his dead Father’s call;
He lay still on the floor, and claimed that was all.
All his speech and physical custom was not as he perceived,
Words came out silent or from behind tortured tears;
Misunderstood man, young and infirm,
No braver than Hamlet, and by no-one believed.
So this is Man — to be eternally capsised, never reprieved
From crushing weights upon the crest; so We bear our cross,
Both young and infirm, caught between youth and adultery’s loss.
We take our blame and cast it forth: for no man hath yet
Taken the frame of the crucifix, not like He—
Man is yet to be.

 

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