Jonathan ROBIN

(22 September / London)

Seven Ages of Contemporary Man after William Shakespeare As You Like It


Each word's world spells cage,
with all its peoples temporary strayers:
their exits sure, with slight trust in re-entrances,
each pouts, reels out doubt life by fits and starts:
trace acts embracing seven stages.

First the infant,
environment uncertain still, although
his genes be sequenced. Then the noxious schoolboy,
I.Q. tested, repeating like parrot
unwillingly at school. Then the graduate
sighing in earnest, with a hopeful eyebrow
bent to employer’s ballad. Then the careerist,
full of strange ideas and innovative strategies,
jealous of advancement, avoiding open quarrel,
seeking swift promotions,
out-thinking colleagues’ schemes. Then the Director,
in fair round belly with best scotch salmon lined,
full of turncoat schemes, intrigues and net investments,
and so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
into the lean and slippered pensioner,
with spectacles on nose, few pounds beside.
his will, once strong, tottering towards the inertia
of oblivion, and his once manly voice
turning again towards childish trebles, pipes
and whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
that ends this strange eventful history,
is second childishness, then Earth’s amnesia,
false teeth, frayed hair, alone, sans everything.

Submitted: Friday, July 26, 2013
Edited: Monday, July 29, 2013


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Poet's Notes about The Poem

(17 January 1990 revised 17 September 2009)

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