National Pavilion UAE - If Hamlet Were Fasting in Venice…| by Tala Worrell
  • If Hamlet Were Fasting in Venice…| by Tala Worrell

    To fast, or not to fast: that is the question:
    Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The heat and ardor of an ancient stinky city,
    Or to grab Venice by the brioche,
    And wade through canals of touristica? To eat: to see;
    always more; and with “Uno cappuccino please” say we end
    The head ache and the thousand spinning churches
    That an empty stomach is heir to, ’tis an act of devotion

    To earthly delights. To eat, to feast;
    To feast: perchance to drink: ha, there’s the catch;
    For in that slice of pizza what thoughts may come
    When we have licked the last of the gelato,
    Must give us pause: there’s the sunset at Salute
    That makes a reminder of a day spent at home;
    of those who bear their faith in emptiness,
    a universal solidarity, a promise to the celestial now,
    The queasiness of intention broken, attention to prayers missed,
    The nostalgia for lentil soup and air-conditioning
    That smell of community consummated,
    When family and friends break parched lips
    With bismillah and a date. Do we hold steadfast,
    pass up afternoons at Lido, conversations with the barista,
    struggle through our pilgrimage of the arts,
    a city of museums demanding our attention
    No traveler returns from Rialto unscathed from sweat

    Venice obliges us to walk for her beauty, and so

    Do we deny her our energy and siesta our way to heaven?
    A debate with God makes human of us all;
    Do we sow the seeds for a future
    a time whose judge cannot be known,
    Or do we pass with the current of Venice
    and lend our compassion to her difficult rhythms,
    And by doing so lose a certain spirit.–Ah well!
    Arrived has the Vaporetto! Water nymph of decisions
    Be all my thoughts quiet and heart open.

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