Guest poem submitted by Rupindar Millington:
(Poem #1873) All the World's a Stage
All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms. And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel And shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school. And then the lover, Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier, Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard, Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel, Seeking the bubble reputation Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice, In fair round belly with good capon lined, With eyes severe and beard of formal cut, Full of wise saws and modern instances; And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon, With spectacles on nose and pouch on side, His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice, Turning again toward childish treble, pipes And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion, Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
A recent submission, "Childhood" by Frances Cornford (Poem #1872), reminded me instantly of this great poem from Shakespeare's As You Like It, 1600. The link between childhood and old age, the full circle of life in which at the first and last stages we are helpless - back to square one: Is second childishness and mere oblivion, Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything. Is our life marked out? Do we merely go through the stages of our life acting it out? Are there really seven stages? Are some of us better actors/actresses than others? Something to debate; no wonder I recall it so well - it was part of my English Literature Syllabus :-)... or perhaps I'm having a mid-life crisis!! Enjoy! Rupindar Millington