by Maxine Mayer
23 August, 2000

"Oh, Hamlet, thou has cleft my heart in twain"

Thus did his mother speak to him, he told me, 'fore he died.
Did he but know how me her words describe!
Ever he slew me with his eyes.

A careless lover, conscious he of naught,
Conscience would liquefy him
If he guessed one wound he wrought.

Honored, a servant, thus did I remain.
All he required, quick did I the same.

Now I have lost him, who did not pull away -
This fair, oh most frail mortal - from the fray.

"Absent thee from felicity a while"

I will. I'll shout forth all his story, glory, death,
From now until I breathe my dying breath.

"Heaven hath fixed its canon 'gainst self-slaughter"

This, he warned me, too.
Hamlet, beloved, in this - as in all things -
Thy fond Horatio follows you.

I cannot die, not by mine own hand, no.
Here, I have pain of him, at least, and memory.
Here, know I places he was wont to be.
Here, some sweet word recalled, brings Hamlet back to me.

In death, I know not if I'll see him there, where we all go,
A place, a place - I know not where.

What if my sweet Lord Hamlet be not there -
Where I am took in death - and him I see no more?

"In my mind's eye, Horatio"

Hamlet, the son, do I thus see.
In green bright fields, red flowers, golden sky,
I see the joyful glance from Hamlet's eye.
In flashing, raging rivers my lord comes to me,
The very image of asymmetry.

When first the sunrise wakes me
With its warmth upon my skin,
And calls me up, in morning,
I follow sun and summer winds,
And walk without thought where my steps are led, to him,
Just as I always - thoughtless of my fears - did follow him.

So, that forevermore uncharted country,
That undiscovered playing field where he is now,
Is truly unavailing to my heart.

Stay I now here, seeped in air he breathed.
In taverns, stalls, and smells he took,
In candle nights, in every fondled book,
Hamlet lives for me again, not lost,
Save in that one particular - his glorious thoughts.

Here, I rehearse the words he told me long ago.
And to an undiscovered country
Would not willing go.