Anne Sexton

(9 November 1928 – 4 October 1974 / Newton, Massachusetts)

The Play - Poem by Anne Sexton

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?

Anonymous submission.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, March 29, 2010

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