Speaking of the future, Hamlet

is saying, someday this day will be over.  
A moon will presumably still be above:  
a bone quiet, an inflatable in the scene 

—the cool blue swimming pool  
it finds itself in. And I will want to be. 
My mother, the Queen, will want only  

my father, the King. All will be want  
& get. And I will be me. And O, O,  
Ophelia—will be the essence of love.  

The love of a sister. Or, the love of the  
brother. Compassion. Forgiveness.  

All will be want & get. We will all be  
together, on stage & in dress, reciting  
our lines: “What a fine day. What a  

wonderful way. To be.” No sirens. Fifty  
stars, a cloud. A drawing of an all-night  
sky. We’ll be there. You as you. And I. 


Copyright © 2020 by Mary Jo Bang. Originally published with the Shelter in Poems initiative on poets.org.

About this Poem

"Poor Hamlet. From our point of view, he’s forever stuck on a stage trying to decide whether to give up or to resolve, like the unnamed speaker in Beckett’s The Unnamable, 'I can’t go on, I’ll go on.' I thought about how, in spite of all of Hamlet’s angst and indecisiveness, he’s still with us, standing in for that part of us that feels trapped in whatever we can’t fix. I decided to free him for a few seconds and give him something hopeful to say."
Mary Jo Bang