Poetry: The Last Bow

Inspired By: “All The World’s A Stage” – William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII

Life is a game; you have to cheat to win
Even if the acts etch at your soul and skin
Each person we meet is a character in our
own storybook with their own set of beliefs

motivations and ideologies. The choices we make
have a number of outcomes. Infinite ones, even.
We have the protagonists who help us on our quest
The mother who cradles us in her arms with such

unconditional love and care amidst the puking,
continuous crying and wailing through cold nights of
winter. The kind but stern father who will do his best
to help us succeed along with his serious look of despair

Charles Dance plays the stern Tywin Lannister in Game Of Thrones
(Game Of Thrones, HBO)

when the child grows into his opposite; not following in
his footsteps. We have our supporting characters in our
growing ensemble cast; our friends, neighbours, aunts,
uncles, grandparents and their ilk. Teachers, doctors, the

dentist and even the family pet comes under this bracket,
in this biographical romance. We grow from infants into
toddlers, learning that the world is more than a mother’s
heart-warming chest. Now young naïve schoolchildren in

the playground of innocence. And then into an emotional
and erratic teenager; studying, learning, criticizing.
Unstable in this period of awkward adolescence. Growing
taller, no longer children but young adults, still in a jail.

Little Marigold with Edith Crawley (Laura Carmichael) (Downton Abbey, ITV)

Little Marigold with Edith Crawley (Laura Carmichael) the award-winning Downton Abbey
(Downton Abbey, ITV)

Whether they’re educational institutions or the workplace.
All have authoritative structures, a lack of individuality,
allocated break times, walking in lines inside the same skins,
abridged freedoms and negative reinforcement. Ding goes

the bell. A reminder of your chains. Then there’s heartbreak
in Hollywoodland, slaves to allegiance. That teen becomes a
cataclysmic paradox of feelings, with their experiences feeling like
a shooting star speeding through the night sky, at Christmas.

Now an adult. Shackled to the plantations of society, gazed at by
an overseer; Big Brother is always watching. Life is a game, and
even to obtain small victories, you have to cheat. Once in a
blue moon, you will be introduced to another a character,

The spider and manipulator Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance) in Wolf Hall (Wolf Hall, BBC One)

The spider and manipulator Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance) in Wolf Hall
(Wolf Hall, BBC Two)

a person of ulterior motives: your adversary, your nemesis,
your villain; who will do what they can to make sure you fail
by encumbering your positivity. They come and go.
Characters come and go. So do the sets and props.

Even now in my own life, as I write this long piece
of poetic discourse. From child to teen to adult to midlife
and then to old age, having seen the world change.
We become cynical, pessimistic and distrusting.

Well, that’s what some say. But pessimism and realism
are two sides of the same coin. We look back over the
the translucent glacier of life. And now we’ve lived.
The curtain calls. We bow. And then we die.

Sarah Lancashire as Catherine Cawood in West Yorkshire police drama, Happy Valley
(Happy Valley, BBC Two)

And as we leave the stage

Drops of blood stain this page