“They All Want to Play Hamlet” 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 dying with a 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 – (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 say over slow
wise, keen, beautiful words masking
a 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.

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