Haiku about Hamlet’s Ophelia

A special treat: Molly Forrester, a gifted young haikuist, age 16, is sharing her haiku which you will treasure.


A Nymph Takes Action

by Molly Forrester


love —


by the sun himself


flooded in thought

the damask rose






the song of her tears . . .

each note

drifts her away





with sanity



spring showers . . .

& the flowers bloom

from her mind



fertile soil —

her frailty

buried in her father’s grave


still water —


holds no name


birth of spring —

her submission

died with her father


dove’s song

she flew

from reality


from insanity

the water nymph makes

her way home


the brook’s gurgle

drowning out the sound

of her voice


Poet’s Statement


I chose to write haiku because I thought through the natural world, I could depict Ophelia’s own nature. Haiku, a literary convention Shakespeare often implicitly uses, relates nature to the human condition; I saw a way to communicate Ophelia’s story: her transition through passiveness to action through natural depictions. I have used unconventional grammar that my father has taught over the past decade. Using a Japanese methodology, I created these poems to act as an image both on paper and in the viewer’s mind so as to elevate the audience’s understanding of Ophelia’s character. Ophelia, creative in her delusions, also inspired me to add an imaginative element to my project, for many of her sing-songs resembled the format and style of haiku. Haiku can be interpreted in multiple ways, similar to the variation on the interpretations on Ophelia’s death. To create a cohesiveness between the poems and format, I added a more flowing layout of the poems and a more decorative font. By ending some of my poems with m dashes or ellipses and creating a concrete poem, one in which the punctuation matches the desired image, the image on paper reflects the one in the observer’s head. Structurally, I narrated Ophelia’s evolution chronologically to illustrate the change of influences in her life and to show where her influences come from. I, influenced by Hamlet’s to be or not to be soliloquy, purposefully decided to make the last word of the last haiku “voice,” the essence of Ophelia’s struggle, the definition of her outward depiction.


Having completed my assignment by searching synonyms for words online, having Kiki and Jackie read it, having my father proofread and help with format, and editing, I pledge on my honor, that this is a responsible effort, my own work, and unique to this assignment.

                                   Molly Forrester



Poem one: “Not so my lord; I am too much in the sun.” (i.2.68)

Poem two: “Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,/ Whilst, like a puff’d and reckless libertine,/ Himself the primrose path of dalliance treafs/ And recks not hs own rede.” (i.3.51-54)

Poem three: “And in his grave rained many a tear” (iv.5.178)

Poem five: “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance: pray you, love, remember: and there is pansies, that’s for thoughts.” (iv.5.186-188)

Poem seven: “With his regard their currents turn awry/ And lose the name of action.” (iii.1.95-96)

Poem nine: “Fare you well my dove!” (iv.5.179)

Poem ten: “The fair Ophelia! Nymph in thy orisons/ Be all my sins remember’d.” (iii.1.97-98)

Poem eleven: A reference to Ophelia’s means of death







About Charlotte Digregorio

I publish books. I have marketed and/or published 55 titles. These books are sold in 46 countries to bookstores, libraries, universities, professional organizations, government agencies, and book clubs. In 2018, I was honored by the Governor of Illinois for my thirty-eight years of accomplishments in the literary arts, and my work to promote and advance the field by educating adults and students alike. I am the author of seven books including: Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All; Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Homes; You Can Be A Columnist; Beginners' Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features; Your Original Personal Ad; and my latest, Ripples of Air: Poems of Healing. The first four books have been adopted as supplemental texts at universities throughout the U.S., Canada, India, Pakistan, and Catalonia. They are sold in 43 countries, and are displayed in major metropolitan cultural centers. These books have been reviewed, recommended, and praised by hundreds of critics, librarians, and professors worldwide. I am also the author of a poetry collection: "Shadows of Seasons: Selected Haiku and Senryu by Charlotte Digregorio." Two of my books have been Featured Selections of Writer's Digest Book Club. I am regularly interviewed by major print, radio, and television organizations throughout the U.S. I regularly sign books at libraries, chain bookstores, and university bookstores, and do poetry readings at art centers, cafes, tea houses, and galleries. I was recently nominated for two Pushcart Prizes in poetry. I have won fifty-nine poetry awards, writing fourteen poetic forms. My poetry has been translated into eight languages. I do illustrated solo poetry exhibits 365 days a year in libraries, galleries, corporate buildings, hospitals, convention centers, and other venues. My individual poems have been displayed at supermarkets, apparel and wine shops, banks, botanic gardens, restaurants, and on public transit. I have been nominated and listed in "The International Authors and Writers Who's Who" in Cambridge, England and in the "Who's Who In Writers, Editors & Poets U.S./Canada." I hosted my own radio program, "Poetry Beat," on public broadcasting. My poetry has been featured on several library web sites including those of Shreve Memorial Library in Louisiana and Cornell University's Mann Library. My background includes positions as a feature editor and columnist at daily newspapers and as a magazine editor. I have been a public relations director for a non-profit organization. I am self-employed as a public relations/marketing consultant, having served a total of 118 clients in 23 states for the past several decades . In other professional areas, I have been on university faculties, teaching French, Italian, and Writing. I regularly give lectures and workshops on publishing, journalism, publicity, poetry, and creativity to business and professional groups, and at writer's conferences, universities, literary festivals, non-profit organizations, and libraries. I have been a writer-in-residence at universities. There have been about 400 articles written about me in the media. I have served on the Boards of writers and publishers organizations. My positions have included Board Secretary of the Northwest Association of Book Publishers. I served for five years as Midwest Regional Coordinator of The Haiku Society of America, and for two years as its Second Vice President.
This entry was posted in Beginning Poets, creative writing, Daily Haiku, Haiku, Hamlet, Instruction, Language Arts, literacy, micropoetry, Molly Forrester, Poetry, Shakespeare, Short Poems, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Haiku about Hamlet’s Ophelia

  1. haikutec says:

    Delighted that a Brit (William Shakespeare) continues to be relevant in today’s society. Hamlet is a very disturbing play, and I feel the lead male’s character comes into #MeToo territory.


  2. Reblogged this on Frank J. Tassone and commented:
    Haiku Happenings #2: Charlotte Digregorio presents a haiku sequence by gifted 16-year-old haijin, Molly Forrester!

  3. Wow, impressive series of haiku. Thanks for posting them, Charlotte. Are you sure she is only sixteen?

  4. Sangbad says:

    Wonderful share…

  5. Paul Beech says:

    Terrific sequence poem – Waterhouse’s painting of Ophelia sitting beside a lily pond drifted into my mind as I read. Well done, Molly.

  6. still water —
    holds no name

    – Molly Forrester

    As a stand-alone haiku, a gift to this world; as a sequence, this poet’s contemporary take on Shakespeare’s Ophelia, dramatizes how his dramatic poetry is for all the ages, in a voice, Molly Forrester’s, refreshing in its originality. Thank you to the poet.

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