English poetry

Poems in English

The Play

I am the only actor.
It is difficult for one woman
To act out a whole play.
The play is my life,
My solo act.
My running after the hands
And never catching up.
(The hands are out of sight –
That is, offstage.)
All I am doing onstage is running,
Running to keep up,
But never making it.

Suddenly I stop running.
(This moves the plot along a bit.)
I give speeches, hundreds,
All prayers, all soliloquies.
I say absurd things like:
Egss must not quarrel with stones
Or, keep your broken arm inside your sleeve
Or, I am standing upright
But my shadow is crooked.
And such and such.
Many boos. Many boos.

Despite that I go on to the last lines:
To be without God is to be a snake
Who wants to swallow an elephant.
The curtain falls.
The audience rushes out.
It was a bad performance.
That’s because I’m the only actor
And there are few humans whose lives
Will make an interesting play.
Don’t you agree?

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Poem The Play - Anne Sexton