HAMLET HAIKU

Joanne E. Gates

Inspired by the Poor Yorick Hamlet Haiku Contest and the film Hamlet 2000
Hypertext formatting by Joanne E. Gates.        See End Note

This poem was submitted June 30, 2001 to the Poor Yorick Haiku Contest, www.bardcentral.com. The contest was occasioned by Video/DVD release of Hamlet 2000. As the contest rules stipulated that up to 10 haiku stanzas could be submitted, the version posted there was cut off mid-sentence, at the end of stanza 10. The complete version, slightly edited for punctuation and syllable count, is printed below.

Hamlet Haiku

by Joanne E. Gates

                            1.
Branagh boils, Gibson
Smiles and sweats. Williamson sneers,
But Ethan just broods

                            2.
Not to Be: Is THIS
the destined end? Venora
Makes her Gertrude drunk,

                            3.
Elects to take her
Poison Fast. What gall! Pistols
end it. Rest? Silence?

                            4.
Get this over with--
No time for Soliloquies,
Just Water, Falling.

                            5.
Ophelia knows--
The water comes to her. King
of Corporate Denmark

                            6.
Whose brother almost
Slips out of frame too smoothly
Then is there again

                            7.
Mourning the sleeping
Marcella (!?) This king's of shreds,
Propped up by Murray

                            8.
In a movie so clipped
That his stepson, too techhie,
Edits his memory.

                            9.
Son's Mouse Trap's on tape,
His Leperous Distillment, a
Cartoon Creation.

                            10.
If this Hamlet works--
Hamlet, Two Thousand, that is--
When leather was "in"

                            11.
It might be because
We smell the device that makes
Shakespeare almost fresh,

                            12.
Or we like gimmicks
And timely devices. Poor
"O" wears a wire; her

                            13.
Dad, listening in, gets
An earful. Message machines,
Pay phones in hallways

                            14.
Give this Hamlet voice.
If you think it's the first time
Shakespeare's been altered,

                            15.
Think twice. When Burbage
Was strutting, the bard had his
Groupies. Read the "bad"

                            16.
Quarto. It's pure par-
Ody. Stoppard knew, too, that
The Text's still the Thing.

                            17.
He kills R and G
And cribs "No Bed for Bacon."
How could we stand it?

                            18.
--That's the real question.
--We know the original!
Old Will's Hamlet lasts,

                            18.
Through Tempests of change.
Roll milleniums over:
Th' Thinking R'venger

                            20.
Is yet to expire,
Despite the post mortems, 'spite
Critics and Cameras.

                            21.
Oedipus, Freud, Ernst
Jones, all passée. Hamlet breathes,
when -- dead -- differently.

by Joanne E. Gates


End Note
Posting this on the web does NOT make it public domain: If you reference this poem, you must credit the author, the URL, the date posted or updated, the date you retrieved. Re-formulating the text codes or posting at other sites is forbidden. It is courteous to ask permission if you want to establish a link from your site to this. Quoting from this for publication requires permission.
Author and page editor: Joanne E. Gates at jgates@jsucc.jsu.edu
Duplication is permitted for educational purposes only, provided you maintan this format and all credits and acknowledgements. Available since July 13, 2001.
Where you are: http://www.jsu.edu/depart/english/gates/shak/hamlhaik.htm
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