Tuesday, 5 June 2012

In the Wings

Bliss Carman (1861 - 1929) 
The play is Life; and this round earth
The narrow stage whereon
We act before an audience
Of actors dead and gone.

There is a figure in the wings
That never goes away,
And though I cannot see his face,
I shudder while I play.

His shadow looms behind me here,
Or capers at my side;
And when I mouth my lines in dread,
Those scornful lips deride.

Sometimes a hooting laugh breaks out,
And startles me alone;
While all my fellows, wondering
At my stage-fright, play on.

I fear that when my Exit comes,
I shall encounter there,
Stronger than fate, or time, or love
And sterner than despair,

The Final Critic of the craft,
As stage tradition tells;
And yet - perhaps 'twill only be
The jester with his bells.

Bliss Carman
 (1861 - 1929)


Sam Vega said...

As so often with this blog, this chap is completely new to me. But an excellent poem. Religious sentiments all the way through, but with the modernist outlook that precludes the easy answers. Thank you.

A K Haart said...

Sam - this is the delight of bookshop browsing isn't it? I came across a volume of his work some years ago and I'd never heard of him either.

James Higham said...

New to me too. Similar thoughts.