Poor Ophelia!

by Kevin T McEneaney

On that solemn Ash Wednesday

when we recall we all are but dust,

Hamlet meditated on the death of his father,

confronting the king who poisoned his father,

then married his deluded mother—

as Herod Antipas once did centuries ago—

when he also committed fratricide.

Ophelia committed suicide the next day

which was Valentine’s Day

because she thought she may be

pregnant with Hamlet’s child

which she reveals by reciting a poem

about such an awkward situation;

how could she bear a child out of wedlock,

especially when she witnessed Hamlet

kill her father by stabbing him repeatedly

with the almighty phallic sword,

yet Hamlet did not know Ophelia might be pregnant

when he hurled the Valentine engagement love-locket

he had purchased at the breast of Ophelia,

whom he thought had betrayed him,

by collaborating with her father Polonius

who was working for the usurper.

Ophelia regretted surrendering

her virginity to Prince Hamlet—

just like Queen Elizabeth with Essex

when she was a young, nubile teenager.

Hamlet knew that playing the role

of John the Baptist numbered his days;

with maudlin self-pity he was also mourning

for the brevity of his life while he was ready

to surrender his life in the name of dignity,

just like John the Baptist and Yeshua

who quaffed at least a gallon

of watered wine each day, acquiring

the Greek nickname Christos

as the new, rabbinical Dionysos,

who freely forgave sins of the downtrodden

in the name of the father of Creation,

declaring that in the kingdom of the Father

the first will be the last!

Kevin T McEneaney

Author of The Enclosed Garden, Longing, and other books