Donald Davidson


*Excerpts from Hamlet, Act I*

Scene VII

In which Laertes warns Ophelia
         of the violets of youth

actions speak louder than words
barking up the wrong tree
torn limb from limb
take it from me
burying something still moving
in the backyard
once in a blue moon
I wanted to bury the hatchet
in good hands
I wanted to hold my own
hook, line, and sinker
like a ton of bricks
my lips were signed, sealed, and delivered
to make light of something
I couldn't put my finger on
nine times out of ten
a mind is a terrible thing
on the mend
old habits die hard
to make matters worse
the joke was on me
in someone else's shoes
I shot myself in the foot
in a case of mistaken identity
a stone's throw away
from the big sleep
I spit in the wind
to see who my real enemy was

Scene VIII

In which Polonius teaches Ophelia
         blazings hath no heat

I turned over a new leaf
yellowing the cold cheek of a child
winter had left
a small stream
noisily running without so much as a lace curtain
call for applause
the flowers at her feet
bloom red for falling
with grace upon each line
her body speaks
to inspire what was lost
was never meant to be found
at the right place and right time
I knew what had to be done
to hurt me more than it hurt her
went without saying
among the mob that corned me
with torch light upon the child
the weight was lifted from their shoulders
I swore I never knew
when they laid me down beside her
I said let's get on with it
after they cut my tongue off

Scene IX

In which the ghost unfolds fires
         fastened by the day

Don't' make me come in there
without a penny to my name
without a place to a rest a hat
without a prayer
I carry my head in my hands
that shouldn't mean it's heavy
if you really want to know
come crawling on your hands and knees
on the shoulders of giants
ask for seconds
to cover your eyes from my starving
to bite the hand that feeds me
one line after another
if you really want to know
you'll never know
one good turn deserves another
two for the price of one

Scene X

In which the ghost recounts
         the orchard in his ear

youth is wasted on the young
strange fruit hanging on the trees
we pass every day
a name no longer needed
someone sleeping in my bed
I'm sure no room was left
since you mention it
believing was seeing
impressions are invisible
to the naked eye
X marks the spot
my flesh leaves after rising
unknown places are still destinations
people live happily ever after
without the benefit of advertisements
in thirty seconds or less
the unknown equals X
until we see the whites of their eyes
the weak inherit the earth
digging a hole before they can fill it
two for the price of one
in case one breaks
we'll never know what they're worth

Scene XI

In which Hamlet swears by the sword
         out of joint

The cock crowed three times
You get what you paid for
in the morning
we must proceed with caution
our walk of shame
is a bearer of bad news
without anything to dull the pain
you won't know just when they killed him
with a smile on his face
our conversation was going nowhere
I do it for you
at the same time you said it was just your hand
at the scene of the accident
I felt water turning into wine
without a cup
my body held more than I could stand
like father, like son
The sound of gun play in the distance
got carried away
gentle as a lamb
by extenuating circumstances
I started to see things your way
I do it for you
when the bullet passed clean through
without a word you never said before
the bearer of no news at all
is a messenger


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