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Page 20

The puns are not my fault (say I?
Says the vanishing blankness?)
Shakespeare did it. I evoked him,
and he made me do it.

He, whoever he was, great
filler of blanknesses, himself
is blankness, an emblem of blankness,
fill in the blank: Will Shakespeare,
Bacon, Marlowe, Earl of Oxford.... Will
the real Will please stand up?
Or if Shakespeare is/was simply Shakespeare,
who was that?

Easier to say who he is than who he was.
And, except for a clutch of scholars,
who cares; ah, there's the blankness.

To find Shakespeare, read the plays:
The play's the thing wherein we'll catch
the conscience (that empty thing)
of the king -- who was only the distorted
image of the real king -- who was but
a ghost -- and ghosts, we like to think,
are blank sheets, which brings us back
to this page's recent past...

"O Page! Go find my nephew, Hamlet."
(Dark-Clouded Claudius to non-entity Osric.)
And the page runs to Hamlet's quarters
(something indecent about "ham" with "quarters").
Time to entertain the majesties
with a spot of fencing. The page goes
"BEEP!" And the rest is silence.

Note: More Hamlet: "Ah, there's the blankness" (referring to truths ignored by all but a few scholars) alludes to "Aye, there's the rub" ("to sleep, perchance to dream, aye...") – more from "tube he or not tube he" (aren't we all tubes with openings at top and bottom? And full of tubes -- veins, arteries, pipes for attachment to other tubes...). Stanzas 4 and 5 are also, obviously, all about Hamlet. Hamlet stages a play, hoping thereby to "catch the conscience of the king. Osric is the page sent by Claudius to invite Hamlet to his final duel (fencing – another form of boundary or bourne). Osric is a page. Pages beep, right? Hamlet's quarters – indecent because a hamlet would seem to be a small ham, and hams attach to hind-quarters (which support our head-quarters).

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