Friday, 26 April 2013

Shades of Hamlet

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._N._Taber

Update: (April 23 2016) William Shakespeare - The Bard - died 400 years ago today yet his plays and poetry live on; they are timeless if only because they embrace not only the human condition apropos the individual, but also its universality.


As well as wonderful poetry and great entertainment, Shakespeare’s plays positively buzz with philosophy.

Yes, ‘The play’s the thing!’ the Bard has Hamlet say. So what ‘thing’ is that then? To ‘catch the conscience of a king’, yes, but what else…?

If life is a play and we but players in it, perhaps Shakespeare hits closer to home when he has Macbeth cry: ‘…Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player/ that struts and frets his hour upon the stage/ and then is heard no more; it is a tale/ told by an idiot, full of sound and fury/ signifying nothing.’

William Faulkner takes up the same theme in The Sound and the Fury that has to be one of the great novels of the 20th century.

As for the rest of us, only a select few are likely to leave giant footprints, but when it comes to developing a sense of direction and purpose in life, there’s nothing to stop us following in the footsteps of giants…is there? 


SHADES OF HAMLET

Time, time! A shifting, sifting play
on love and death - warring, scoring,
giving and partly giving;
urges better things, tugs at lesser
strengths, all finer struggle
caught in underflow

Now, sun in the water dazzles me
splendid heavens. Dove circling saintly
dives on a crumb;
willows weeping for each star fallen,
ebb tide grieves
me home

Home, home! A shifting, sifting play
on love and death - warring, scoring,
giving and partly giving;
urges us to better things, tugs at lesser
strengths, all finer struggle
caught in underflow

Copyright R. N. Taber 2000; 2012

[Note: A slightly different version of this poem appears in 1st eds. of Love And Human Remains by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2001; 2nd (revised) e-edition. in preparation].

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