Carl Sandburg

(6 January 1878 – 22 July 1967 / Illinois)

They All Want To Play Hamlet - Poem by Carl Sandburg

They all want to play Hamlet.
They have not exactly seen their fathers killed
Nor their mothers in a frame-up to kill,
Nor an Ophelia lying with dust gagging the heart,
Not exactly the spinning circles of singing golden spiders,
Not exactly this have they got at nor the meaning of flowers--O flowers, flowers slung by a dancing girl--in the saddest play the inkfish, Shakespeare ever wrote;
Yet they all want to play Hamlet because it is sad like all actors are sad and to stand by an open grave with a joker's skull in the hand and then to say over slow and over slow wise, keen, beautiful words asking the heart that's breaking, breaking,
This is something that calls and calls to their blood.
They are acting when they talk about it and they know it is acting to be particular about it and yet: They all want to play Hamlet.


Comments about They All Want To Play Hamlet by Carl Sandburg

  • Susan Williams (11/29/2015 3:11:00 PM)


    I cannot get enough of Sandburg at times- he has such unique insights into the human pysche (Report) Reply

    16 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Edward Kofi Louis (11/29/2015 6:14:00 AM)


    Nature is like a danicng girl at times. Nice work. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: sad, girl, beautiful, heart, dance, father, flower



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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