gershon hepner

Rookie - 10 Points (5 3 38 / leipzig)

Quintessence Of Dust - Poem by gershon hepner

Man’s quintessence being dust,
Hamlet felt that he could trust
no man as friend, for all could sow
betrayal, save Horatio.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
deserved contempt that they would earn
from him, and from Tom Stoppard later,
minor character inflator.
(Minor characters enthuse
the midrash also. It ascribes
to them some wrinkles that add hues
to players barely sketched by scribes.)
He killed his father and embarrassed
Polonius, who was hiding, arrassed,
and spying, trying to report
which women he was selling short,
and for which ones he took a long
position. Oh, he got it wrong,
believing Hamlet readable
as books he read, and Oedipal.
Funereally his mother baked
and wed his father while he ached
and struggled with his old man’s Ghost,
and with the girl he loved the most,
Laertes’ sister, whom with punnery
he banished to a brothel-nunnery.
Although for him she’d had the hots,
she floated with forget-me-nots,
like rosemary not unforgotten
by Hamlet, who found rotten
the moral in the skull of Yorick
which made him almost allegoric.

A greater man than he once struggled
and by an angel’s grip was buckled,
his style remaining quite uncrimped,
though he for ever after limped.
He struggled in the dirt and threw
an angel to the ground, and grew
by doing this to be far greater,
when face to face with his Creator.

He’d seen before what Hamlet, maddened
by visions of an old ghost hadn’t,
when he saw angel figures at
a so-called ladder, ziggurat
like those in ancient Babylon.
He never glimpsed a rabbi on
a temple like the one he saw,
just angels dancing round galore,
aspiring higher some, ascending,
others, most depressed, descending.

Far more inspired than the Dane
his comment proved him not insane.
“This place, ” he said, “is full of wonder! ”
and never made the fateful blunder
of disrespecting any ghost
or angel with a flip riposte.
Though he was more loved by his mother
than his father or his brother,
he stole his birthright with her help,
which made his brother yell and yelp
and threaten him with sudden death,
less like Prince Hamlet than Macbeth,
he came to terms with his dilemmas
by blessing even his condemners.
From wrestling matches he learned lessons
that taught him though the true quintessence
of man is dust, he may prevail
by catching angels by the tail,
and mortifying them when pestled
when they retreat from you, outwrestled.
Since Wonder he could comprehend,
no silence for him was the end.
To be or not to be for him
was Israel, his new synonym.
I wonder, will the rest be silence
once there is no more need for violence?


Comments about Quintessence Of Dust by gershon hepner

  • (12/9/2005 5:49:00 PM)


    I loved this poem. Not only is it erudite and witty, it takes off from my favorite Shakespearean tragedy and I love the comparison with the story of Jacob/Israel.

    Well done! (10 from me.)

    A Blessed Chanukah!

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  • (12/9/2005 3:21:00 PM)

    Genius. Studying Hamlet at the mo so i can proudly follow the wit and quotations and line of argument, and if i couldn't i'd still enjoy the excellent rhymes. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, December 9, 2005

Poem Edited: Sunday, December 18, 2005

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