Speaking In Tongues
Guided by Voices

Andrey Kneller
HAMLET

A Commentary


I



The pen would tremble in my hand
The fervent ink would flow in prime,
To start the story with no end --
An ageless tale told in rhyme.
The ever-young and graceful Hamlet,
Preserved in ink, upon a tablet,
Shall never fade nor ever rust.
A poet's breath shall sweep the dust
And make anew what was forgotten.
Which shall return like any season.
Restoring life in words of reason,
It will complete what was begotten
And preaching loudly from the page,
It will awake the silent age.


II



Thus we begin, let's take a glimpse,
Somewhere in Denmark, long ago --
Young Hamlet lived inside his dreams,
And trusted visions that he saw.
The throne was his and so was glory
And this he knew. Without a worry,
He eagerly looked to that day
When he'd be king. The prince was gay
Just knowing that he had control.
He placed himself above his friends,
The world was lying in his hands --
In every game they played. His soul
Was branded thus by destined fate.
The role was his and Hamlet played!


III



He mimicked time upon his face,
He craved adventure, hungered trouble --
Just like the rest, despised disgrace
And fell in love, for it was common.
He loved to hunt, enjoyed the thrill,
Always the first to get the kill,
With passion, lacking guilt and shame,
He finished off the wounded game
And feasted on the bleeding beast.
Was always proud of his feat,
All dinner bragged about his deed,
About his strength, and was not pleased --
Never received full satisfaction --
Until he'd get a kind reaction.


IV



His love was rare and so unique
That many viewed it as deceiving.
Effected to affection's peak,
He freely spoke about his feelings.
Ophelia, he loved you dearly!
At night he dreamt of you. Sincerely,
He wrote to you about his love, --
You never trusted him enough
And doubting his faultless will,
Mislead your heart. Your heart --
Not fooled, knew from the start
That he was pure. He loved you still!
Demanding strongly, Hamlet yearned
To have you love him in return.


V



Then, sorrow struck him with a blow --
So suddenly, old Hamlet died
Our Prince, -- he buried sadness slow
And by the tomb he moaned and cried.
Sad hours dragged. Clock's heavy hands
Would close the casket, tie loose ends
And bury pain. Yet grief remained,
And moved by feelings that he gained.
Our hero lost all sleep. No longer
Were his dreams as bright and clear.
Yet, since that moment, not a tear
He shed, but grew much stronger.
His weary face showed no remorse,
The world was falling on its course.


VI



The sun was shinning and the weather
Was pleasant and the grass was growing.
And all was living -- all that mattered!
And all was blossoming, not knowing
That such a tragedy took place.
The children's eyes sincerely gazed
As flowers bloomed and all seemed just!
The world was moving as it must.
And Hamlet picked up by this spirit
Thought not about his father's death
All was alive. And nature's breath
Blew on his face and he would hear it.
And bringing Hamlet back to life
The nature with excitement thrived.


VII



Abruptly, calmness turned to rage --
And Hamlet walked around sunken,
The Queen, his mother, was engaged
To marry Claudius, his uncle.
Too sudden! -- Not a month yet passed
Since king deceased, and she would cast
Her sight upon another man. A curse
Indeed, for such a deed is worse
Than mortal sin and for our Prince
The past would slowly come to vanish.
He felt abandoned, sunk in anguish.
And cursed his fate. And ever since
His father's death, could not be reached --
He lost his touch and lacked his speech.


VIII



While held imprisoned in his castle,
Watched closely by the hungry eyes --
He searched for truth, and in that hassle,
He found nothing but disguise.
Pure vengeance grew in Hamlet's heart
He, with this notion could not part,
But stood against it. All was blurry!
Some say -- he left his nest too early,
And others -- that he had no nest.
To helplessly see dreams grow molded,
Or be delighted blindfolded? --
Who is to judge what is the best?
Thus Hamlet watched all he adored
Become offensive and abhorred.


IX



One night, his lengthy contemplation
Was shortened greatly by his servants.
The words they spoke aroused sensations
And gave his will a whole new purpose.
He followed them and he was stunned! --
Appeared a phantom and a bond
Was formed. The sun would rise,
And melt the vision in his eyes
And all was still before his sight.
And all was quiet, all was calm.
Just like the sky before the storm,
All seemed so trite, but in that night
Eternally, three fates have crossed --
The son, the father and the ghost.

X



Their will was simple: to avenge --
Bring Justice forth to do her part!
Our Hamlet, yearned to get revenge,
And yet remain true in his heart.
But, was he sure of his assumption?
He re-examined his presumption
And found no alibi, no cause.
Did he believe his father's ghost?
Was it the Devil? Who could know?
These questions, yet to be contested,
Remained a burden and unanswered
Would stress our hero more and more.
A plot was plotted for pure eyes
To catch the killer by surprise.


XI



He asked himself in deep depression,
To be or not? and in his voice,
He sought the answer. In confession
He realized -- he had no choice.
To be... but how? he'd often ponder
But found no answer in his wonder
Other that be. In contemplation,
He'd seek a godly revelation,
But nothing came. Enslaved in grief,
He dreamt that all was quite well
And yet he couldn't brake the spell
Which filled his thoughts. And brief
Were nights, long were the days,
Which he would spend in search of space.


XII



As long as conscience plays her role,
You are alive, my cherished reader, --
If nothing can disturb your soul,
Then you've deceased and neither
Love nor breath can bring you back.
You're always judged by what you lack,
Not what you have. Don't waste
A single breath in rapid haste,
But drink love's potion -- magic brew,
And breathe to love and strive to live,
To sense the pain, to feel the grief --
This above all: to self be true!
Enough of morals! I'm excited --
A play is staged and we're invited!


XIII



Hamlet, the ultimate observer --
Sees all as all observe the play.
The actor speaks with ardent fervor
The lines that he was told to say --
He states, ...hands apt, drugs fit
And time agreeing... He does the deed.
Pours poison in King's ears and then
Out of the second row, the man
Arises. Let strucken deer go weep,
States Hamlet and the lights go on.
The play is left half-way undone
For some -- ...and some must sleep.
An echo duplicates -- hands apt... --
The mouse falls into the trap.


XIV



Prince Hamlet manifests in poems --
So cruel and very strongly versed --
Thus ends one play -- another opens,
Or better yet evolves from first.
Eyes focus, players lose their shield,
The player's faces -- now revealed!
True drama starts! Becoming conscious,
The rivals meet and silence plunges!
And walking slowly on the stage
Our hero stares into the night --
His future stands before his sight
And preaches like a clever sage.
And only minutes separate
Two lives from finding their fate.


XV



As one sought heaven for forgiveness
While kneeling down in a prayer,
The other raised his sword in bleakness
But could not slay the praying slayer.
For he who meets his death confessing
Shall go to heaven with a blessing
And find God. Thus Hamlet left
Bearing revenge -- a massive heft,
Upon his shoulders. He was certain --
His heart was beating like a drum --
The destined day would surely come
To free our hero from this burden.
And thus he walked away appeased
And left his enemy in peace.


XVI



Seeking no vengeance from he holy,
So wise in thought, he walked away,
For every king must have his glory
And every dog will have its day.
In rage, he entered Gertrude's room
His anger had no time to cool.
He harshly spoke and heard a cry --
A moan, a wail. And a spy
Behind a tapestry met death.
Was Hamlet acting out of fury?
From madness? -- was he truly
Mad? Or did he simply have
No reason? -- What's done is done!
The Queen felt pity for her son.


XVII



Oh, Gertrude! Overfilled with sadness,
You were the victim of this plot!
You prayed for peace and in this madness
Your eyes refused to look at blood.
And deeply struck by this commotion,
You buried deeply your emotion
And slept in slumber to that day,
When Hamlet entered in a fray
And gave you sight. He stabbed
Your innocence, spoke daggers,
And he exposed and didn't stagger
The anger in his bosom trapped.
And looking at your soul, inside
You could not find a place to hide.


XVIII



Something was rotting in the state.
And slowly crumbling, it wailed.
No longer could our hero wait
And thus to England Hamlet sailed.
With conscience, Hamlet could not sleep,
One single notion he would keep
That all was going for the worst
And death was lying on his course.
He chose to test his intuition
And proved it true. All came to focus!
King Claudius gave out the orders,
And signed the paper -- his commission,
Where he commanded to his men
To slay the Prince upon the land.


XIX



King's wicked plan was now exposed
And Hamlet, overflowed with hatred,
Would roar in rage, and from exhaust,
He cursed the ship, the wind and nature,
In passionate distress, he shivered
And all seemed wicked, false and evil.
He was alone in his belief --
He felt forsaken, lost, deceived.
Just as the moment turned intense,
Our hero fled from the disaster.
His fortune fell on two imposters
Whom in the past, he called his friends.
And all alone he traveled back, --
Which takes us to the final act.


XX



Into a churchyard Hamlet wandered
And by one monument he stopped.
And Hamlet's eyes perceived in wonder
And from the weariness they dropped.
There, in the grave, his past would fester,
Here lies a joker and a jester... --
Poor Yorick! You were once his teacher,
But now deceased, -- left not a feature.
Yet Hamlet still recalled with pleasance-
The smile that he loved so much
He saw the hands he used to touch
His memory preserved your essence
And Hamlet carried in his mind
The weight of what was left behind.


XXI



Inside his head, decades and ages
Decayed and faded in the night.
He saw the King, the Queen and Laetres, --
Stood short of breath. Before his sight
His love was buried. Pain struck deep!
His soul appalled began to weep.
He went to offer his condolence
But Laetres, blind to his solace,
Attacked him and refused to see
His innocence. Prince Hamlet then,
Would try to reason with this man, --
Laetres ignored him. Even he,
Stood by the crown hypnotized--
No longer seeing through his eyes.


XXII



Words often leave a deadly touch.
The noble Laetres felt it. Hence,
He challenged Hamlet to a match
And Hamlet, taught in youth to fence,
Agreed. And both were ready to defend
Their honor. With a rapid hand
The Prince struck first and soon
Again. Then Laetres. From the wound
Blood dripped. In haste, they traded
Swords. And then, under a magic spell,
Both froze at once, both fighters fell
And instantly two stars have faded.
And lying on the floor, in blood,
Laetres unmasked the wicked plot.


XXIII



Both saw the crown's charming shine,
And watched the sun play on its tips.
Meanwhile, Gertrude drank the wine,
Which was prepared for Hamlet's lips. --
Another death from poisoned drink!
Prince Hamlet rose and killed the king
And fell again, his sword would drop.
And thus in Denmark, chaos stopped.
And only Gods watched in dismay,
That day, as tons of blood was shed,
A country -- ruined, people -- dead,
They watched it all. Thus ends the play.
I pray this story strikes you deep
Some must live on, ...and some must sleep.


XXIV



To sacrifice yourself for virtue,
For mere belief, which seems deceiving!
To be! To stand against your fortune!
How sad is life? -- how worthy living!
Dear Hamlet this we owe to you! --
You challenged life and this you knew,
You walked to certain death. I pray,
That I could take your path some day
And die for honor! Die with pride!
To see what dreams will come, if any,
And if one comes, to pray for many.
And seeing stars fall in the night,
To make a wish that they would rise
And shine again inside our eyes!


XXV



Time is a gathering of moments,
Sometimes we act, sometimes rehearse.
Thus ends one play -- another opens,
Or better yet, evolves from first,
Which never ends. In admiration,
We closely watch each situation
Develop into something bigger, --
So big, that many cannot figure
The moral it conveys so clearly.
So what's the moral? -- How can I
Describe to you what's in your eye?
And this I say to you sincerely:
Perhaps it's better not to see,
And simply let the question be.