After Hamlet insulted my virtue yet again,
and me giving him my all and gladly,
I ran sobbing to the Lower Town, there glimpsed
a female strolling player. I gasped
at my own visage in a still pond’s surface,
She drew back as if from some devilment,
but when I suggested we change places,
she was a hound slobbering over the meaty bone
of all she could lay hands on, to please her troupe,
and keep a few prize baubles for herself.
And me? I wished to escape my mad prince
after his unwanted gift when we lay by the river.
One of my maids had whispered of a witch
whose chimney smoke is a beacon for all
who find themselves in such difficulties.
After I availed myself of her potions, I tested
if I could play a player, and entertained
tavern-peasants, their shouts and tossed coins
at my bawdy songs the proof. Even her brother
demanded why wasn’t I in costume as the Virgin,
for their next court performance.
Now, wind carries the sad news she’s drowned,
fish-nibbled, unrecognizable, except for the gown
I exchanged for her gypsy skirt and blouse.
I’d wager that my former betrothed slew her:
his rages uncontrollable as a weather cock
flung about by Ultima Thule-winter storms.
Christ only knows the kingdom’s fate
if his madness continues unchecked:
my poor father the only brake on his choler,
and look how he was rewarded by Hamlet.
Though as we wagon-creak away, I care
not a fig for the rot rising from Elsinore.