Monday, January 17, 2011

What a Piece of Work

What a Piece of Work
by Gideon Burton
after a passage from Shakespeare's Hamlet

How is it no one, nothing pleases me?
I am not blind to how our sweaty dust
retains bright shimmers of divinity,
despite the vinegar, the bile and rust.
We are these demigods of sense and flesh,
as fair in form and movement as the stars,
the waves, the wind; our stirring thoughts enmeshed
in reason, action, music, spreading far
into infinities beyond, within,
as golden glorious as fretted skies
afire; as magical as newborn's skin.
And yet I stop. I sink in heavy sighs.
     Though heaven dazzles earth with brightest beams,
     so heavy, bland, and sterile it all seems.

Photo: flickr - susy

From Hamlet:

I have of late--but wherefore I know not--lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me: no, nor woman neither...

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