The Tumbling Curtains [poem]

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From the corner of his eye he saw the curtains start to fall
from stage-left — stage-right (actor standing midst it all),
a little back from where the velvet cloths would meet and
where he earlier had stood (an X marked where he’d been).
Thusly, when they fell, his act would disappear from view.
He kicked away his seat. “It’s happening on cue”, thought he.
“No place now for complacency or apathy in anything I do”.

Glancing up at either side & seeing how they tumbled down
in motion, slowly, fabricated by the operators perched above
the rafters, where miraculous machinery clanked and cloved
and wound and reeled the ropes where curtains fell and rose,
he realised his role was moulded solely out of borrowed time.
{So was it now too late to find his dreamed-of love & thereby
ultimately make his mitigating lines reach home and rhyme?}

The audience was sparse and many who had seen him there
had left, which inly made him smile and honed his sight to see
the ones who never sat in seats but moved in shadows quietly.
For afterwards they’d mount the rafters using ropes and long-
acquired acrobatic skills, which thrilled the thespian on-stage,
although he couldn’t join them there, as on the ageing boards
he must remain until the tumbling curtains came to rest again.

© Alan Morrison, 2016

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