What Shakespeare Might Have Meant

I heard my stage call and began my role

In the play that comes with no lines or plot.

Act the first started.  I drowned in holy love;

And burdened by duties I was

That would win me heaven when the curtain falls.

Soon my first acting challenge arrived;

The form of maddening itching it took.

The first dagger erupted in bursts of pain;

There to help me fight my way;

Until its friends rose in equal torment.

 

To the awe of the actors around me,

On my unsteady lumps of fat I stood

And forward I went, gained speed and much strength;

Tears of joy wetted the eyes;

I had conquered motion and the audience clapped.

 

Slowly the faces around me did change;

A new shine of comprehension they gained

As my garbled improvised lines made sense.

 

I gained height and was pushed into Act two.

Terrified I walked into the big hall.

Aggressive sounds and unfamiliar faces

Attacked me and my senses.

A pen was thrown in my hand and there it stayed.

 

Horrified I was when one day blood pooled

I had become a woman grown, I learned;

And my own mother cheered and clapped in pride.

 

My love scene came up and with it Act three.

I faced my hero, our lips fumbled;

This scene was new and unpracticed it had been.

In my stride it was taken

Since determined I was to make it work.

 

The first token for my efforts arrived,

My name was called up in a real theatre,

A rolled up sheet of parchment I was given.

Proud I felt with pen in hand;

The crowd clapped and I beamed under my skewed hat.

 

Soon I was thrown into the pit that was Act four;

The longest and most arduous to come.

Rigid as a corpse I sat and mumbled,

While six lions berated me and spat

With questions I had no correct answers to.

 

In fear I groped blindly and carefully trudged;

In the jungle scene I found myself, scared.

Survival of the fittest became the rule.

The game I started to play valiantly,

And earned my living at the end of each round.

 

Act four was held in pause,

Act five unexpectedly overlapped.

I called up another actor on stage.

Loud and heavily I clapped

My tears and love nurtured the amateur

As she wobbled scared on her lumps of fat.

And I waited patiently

Until her lines started to make some sense.

 

I watched as the new actor gained in height.

I grabbed her hand and with her I stood tall

Through the love scenes and the tragic ones that passed,

And I held her while she too

Called forth her own protégé to the stage.

 

Then, tired and exhausted I sat down,

Waiting for the heavy curtain to fall.

At last it did. No standing ovation came,

nor any shiny awards;

Just the satisfaction that I did my best.

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