The Will to Row

The Will to Row

Hamlet had been up
late the night before.
Role-playing with some friends.
And, now, this morning
he could not make up his mind,
hung-over as he was,
whether or not to get in
some rowing.  Routine
was Hamlet’s king.
And to begin the day without rowing
would portend a day
lived off-center, a day
each minute of the morning of
would be like a rock
rolled up the mountain of time
toward noon,
only to roll back down again.
On days not ruled by routine,
Hamlet felt himself Sisyphus,
Sisyphus in a state of indecision.

Thus, row he would,
sluggish, at first,
sleepy-eyed,
his mind still veiled
in the gauze of dream,
a dream wherein Banquo
had appeared, confused,
seeming to have come to inhabit
the mind of the wrong character
in the wrong play,
which Hamlet reasoned was why
he found himself in the state
of indecision he had wakened to.

But Hamlet, having decided to row,
caused Banquo rise
from the dead of dream,
dream rising from Hamlet’s mind,
and clear a way for him
to get his day underway.

And so Hamlet rowed
that he could be,
that he could play
his part in the day.

Philip Kuepper
(9 October 2013)

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