Arts & Culture Highlights Mental Health Awareness Poetry

Ophelia; My Mirror

What is my purpose?

Is it to love Hamlet or to fulfil the duties of being a daughter

One-two, one-two, breathing as I grow 

But what is the point of continuing 

My heart is overburdened and the ache 

The ache of those thousand obligations seems unbearable 

Resting on the slightest edge

the heavyweight left me, alone to heal the permanent scars of my youth

The soft shell of my beating heart sheds

Forcing me back like the influx of the big tide 

I was covered in glass

On the polished castle walls

Mirrors that could not reveal the reality

Petals like a kite string 

Piercing through every bone, every muscle.

Yet one-two, one-two, I took a breath.

Turbulent, sinful, eerie, 

All undermining for the life I live

Petals that felt like 

Bullets deflecting my resilience, my power

Melting into anguish


One-two, breathe Ophelia

The air gets tighter 

Who must I trust?

My brother who himself the primrose path of dalliance treads

And recks not his own rede.

Hamlet, I am convinced he loved me 

Tell me, it wasn’t just an act of infatuation 

Tell me, my purpose is to be a dutiful wife, a steadfast mother of a bright blue-eyed child 

Yet, I am an eternal virgin, a weeping woman, a crazed Ophelia 

Losing the only vessel of mortality, ever existed. 

I am Ophelia,

The pinnacle of innocence 

Exploited by the avarice and desires 

Of my brother

My lover 

My father

Oh father, don’t read the letter, 

The sole confirmation of my love 

He begins, “Doubt Thou the stars are fire

Doubt that the sun doth move

Doubt the truth to be a liar

But never doubt I love”

Every syllable pronounced so consciously 

Piercing through my closed airway 

One-two, a distant echo, a soft pulse

I knew he loved me, 

But I am just a 

Sexual object 

A corrupt

Deceitful lover 

Send me to a nunnery, will you? 

This dilemma forced me into the pit of madness

No way to reconcile my contradictory self 

A flower for you 

A flower for you

Have some hope will you 

Oh, sweet Hamlet!

Oh Laertes, bring me back my father

How shall I fulfil my empty soul?

Must it be with mourning tears? 

The rapids will drag you down just like they did 

To me 

Onto the murky bed of unsanctified peace 

I ponder my demise every day 

Who, what and where 

Did I transcend into this unfathomable darkness? 

Where light doesn’t exist 

And the night seems inescapable 

My death was doubtful,

And, but that great command o’ersways the order,

I should in ground unsanctified been lodged

Till the last trumpet.

I did not flee to the riverside 

with the intention of 

Drowning myself, no–

it was merely a promise of bouquets–

daisies, violet, rosemary,  rue–

of wild, velveteen petals nestled softly 

against tear-stained cheekbones; 

Soft petals that were ticklish beneath raw feet felt 

Like pine needles piercing my delicate feet

and the train of my nightgown 

a focal point for dewy leaves

and frayed bird feathers.

My legs simply dangling over the blustering currents

Drowning isn’t in the act of doing but in the act of letting go

I let go

Let go of Hamlet and him of his troubles 

For so young and naive I was, I let go

One-two, one-two a faint breath

Seconds later 

“She’s gone” 

I float among the water lilies from now on. 

Reference (for featured image)

Ophelia Alive No. 108 Painting. (2018). Saatchi Art.

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