Stroke of midnight

12:37 AM right now. I’ve been reading a ton on Hamlet for my research essay. And curiously, I think I’m getting rather fond of Mr. Prince of Denmark because of it. Before, I suppose, I’ve always thought of the play as just one of the top brass of the English canon, one of many. I’m not obliged to like it, certainly; you don’t have to love genius. And I had to read it before and didn’t really feel anything other than, Well, finally got THAT one down. But after doing loads of research on it, I just have this odd, friendly familiarity with the work now.

I just finished reading an essay on it called “Hamlet as Minister and Scourge” by Fredson Bowers, written in 1955. It’s really good prose, line of reasoning, and the interpretation makes a lot of things fit into place. I can’t find an online version of it anywhere other than JSTOR (which is only accessible by a number of Internet providers affiliated with university libraries worldwide, UNSW included), otherwise I’d post it.

In any case, I just want to post a war poem I had to study back home in the Philippines (and which I obviously liked). It’s written by Wilfred Owen, a British poet and soldier in WW1. (Don’t ask me why I suddenly thought of it. Just did.)

The Letter

With B.E.F. Jun 10. Dear Wife,
(Oh blast this pencil. ‘Ere, Bill, lend’s a knife.)
I’m in the pink at present, dear.
I think the war will end this year.
We don’t see much of them square-‘eaded ‘Uns.
We’re out of harm’s way, not bad fed.
I’m longing for a taste of your old buns.
(Say, Jimmie, spare’s a bite of bread.)
There don’t seem much to say just now.
(Yer what? Then don’t, yer ruddy cow!
And give us back me cigarette!)
I’ll soon be ‘ome. You mustn’t fret.
My feet’s improvin’, as I told you of.
We’re out in the rest now. Never fear.
(VRACH! By crumbs, but that was near.)
Mother might spare you half a sov.
Kiss Nell and Bert. When me and you-
(Eh? What the ‘ell! Stand to? Stand to!
Jim, give’s a hand with pack on, lad.
Guh! Christ! I’m hit. Take ‘old. Aye, bad.
No, damn your iodine. Jim? ‘Ere!
Write my old girl, Jim, there’s a dear.)

Still have short stories to critique. 12:51 AM now. It’s going to be a long night for this tired girl.

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4 thoughts on “Stroke of midnight

  1. Yay JSTOR! Although I hate its search engine.

    I didn’t really get Hamlet ’till I saw the version with Kenneth Branaugharghbargle in it. Nor did I realize how huge a partisan was.

  2. Hahaha! I usually find the most relevant articles in JSTOR by accident.

    I never saw the Kenneth Branagh film…I want to see it, though. Apparently it was a really extravagant production. Still not out in DVD though. But at least it’s in the process.

  3. Yeah, if you’re a purist you’ll probably think it’s overkill. But the man does a mean nutso Hamlet. And it’s all Tzarist Russia and stuff.

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