Shining Rock Poetry Anthology

"Reading About Ophelia," by William Doreski

Reading about Ophelia
I worry that her cringing pallor
has prompted Hamlet's disdain.

Yet Hamlet's nowhere in sight.
Ophelia's mooning over nothing,
the wind sweeping down from Norway

to rifle her ropy yellow hair.
Some Freudian commentators
insist that Polonius took

her virginity in her childhood,
leaving her useless to Hamlet
and his adolescent perversions.

Some say that drawn to water
and mayflowers she regressed
to self-dissolution in nature.

Still others claim that her brother
and lover left her adrift
and pregnant while Hamlet slept

so dreamily with his mother
he hardly noticed his uncle's
mild and befuddled reproach.

I'll read until she drowns herself
and then I'll mourn her as thoroughly
as anyone does; her child's heart stilled

and the cold wind from Norway
blowing for dozens of centuries
around and around the world.

William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and writes poetry that a few people like and many others don't. He believes that this is as it should be. His work has appeared in various journals and a few collections.

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