To Breathe, Or Not To Breathe

hamletimages(with apologies to William Shakespeare, a little reworking of his work I did in 2009, apt now as I find I cannot shake my asthmatic ailments)

To breathe , or not to breathe: that is the question:
whether ’tis easier in the wind to suffer
the slings and arrows of outrageous asthma,
Or to take anti-histamines against a lungful of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To choke: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The lung-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to,’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To choke, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep with breath what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause to breathe: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the shortness of breath of time,
The lung compressor’s wrong, the asthmatic’s contumely,
The pangs of undrawn breath, nature’s delay,
The insolence of exercise and the spurns
That patient merit of the unhealthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a ventolin pump? who would air-tents bear,
To grunt and sweat under a noisome cover,
But that the dread of something like no breath,
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those breaths we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus exercise does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of respiration
Is sicklied o’er with the exhaled cast of thought,
And aspiration of great pith and moment
With this regard their breathing turns awry,
And lose the name of action. – Soft  breathe you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my breaths remember’d.

with apologies to William Shakespeare – To be, or not to be (from Hamlet 3/1)

© Dave Luis 2009. All Rights Reserved.

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