(Written in response to a CBC Canada Writes challenge to put a Shakespeare character into a modern setting)
Hamlet checks in at the airport and boards a
What manner of going is this
Where men of high estate may be,
Stripped of footwear, poked, prodded,
Goods and chattels untimely seized;
Herded like cattle into pestilential pens,
Assailed by voices heard, not seen?
What Hell is this that hath no name?
Randomly scriven in a devil’s tongue
Writ only in numbers and letters
Mouthed by fools and charlatans;
Terminal C, Gate 10, Row 2, Seat B;
What artifice lurks in such foul
Guise, more conducive
To the slaughter of innocents
Than to dreams of Elysian shores?
Virgin! Delta! Tango! Transat!
Sunwing! Westjet! Zip! Zoom!
No Birds of Paradise these avians be
but dragons of acrid and fiery breath
Dispatched to fetch us to the jaws of Hell!
But Hark! Here comes the Harpy
All battle-clad and red-lipped fury
Yet smiling like a cruel assassin
To challenge my very being;
2B, or not 2B, that is the question
Whether tis nobler in the mind
To take thine place upon a gilded throne
Or shuffle into the monster’s bowels
And there squat with the masses
Alas, my docket yet tells the tale
And I am cast beyond the pale;
An Upgrade! An Upgrade!
My Kingdom for an Upgrade!
Yet e’en if I be wrongly placed
Should I be unseated so?
Mine goblet snatch’ed from mine grasp
Hot towel sudden turned to ice;
But wait! All seems not lost
The bonds that bind me at once are loose’d;
Yonder! See? The portcullis rises
The drawbridge falls,
Arise! For England! We’ll breach these walls