Wednesday 9 September 2020

Peter Poulsen: 'Hvis jeg var Hamlet'


If I was Hamlet,
I’d buy flowers for Ophelia, English wine gums,
              matches, champagne –
I’d invite her on a trip
                 to Florence or Rome.

If I was Hamlet,
I’d give her a cage full of bleeping zebra finches,
              a pair of figure-skates,
              a permanent pass on the Sweden ferries.

If I was Hamlet,
I’d concentrate on my love-life
instead of brooding on the familiar;
              I’d divide up Kronborg
into owner-occupied flats,
move into a house in Fiolgade –
maybe buy a water-bed –

If I was Hamlet,
I’d forget all my gloomy speculations
              and be something more than I am,
instead of just thinking about it.
              I’d not stick my most into my mother’s sex-life,
if I was Hamlet.
I’d face the fact that the old man is dead,
not trudge around in the pitch-dark looking for ghosts
who’ve got nothing but revenge on their minds.

If I was Hamlet,
I’d let Polonius stand behind the arras
just as long as he felt like it:
the addle-pated old fogey –
I’d have refused to travel anywhere
with two such ninnies as Goldilocks and Rosycheeks
or whatever their names are –

If I was Hamlet
I’d go on the town with Horatio
drink draught beer with Frank Jæger,
throw dice with sailors in harbour dives,
chat up Swedish birds,
have my arm tattooed:
              Ophelia, I Love You
it would say,
under a flaming heart –

if I was Hamlet.

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