A Tragedy

Van Gogh cut his ear off; I just wrote this…

Life in Act III and fast approaching Curtain
A player – vaguely played – who stutters still the lines.
Until mutters fill the feral Upper Circle
venting pity dressed as shitty platitudes

The play’s the thing, of course; the drama.
A panorama laid before the crowd.
And also bare, the naked soul of someone
who cannot see the writing on his wall.

‘Bums on seats’ is not just theatre parlance.
It’s down and outs, whose worn souls are holed.
Who bay for blood from down at heel performers.
And rend a player’s garments with sharp tongues.

This act become a study in contrition
is bathed in light beyond the darkened stalls
The penitent is drowned within a teardrop
or dies in shame at silent curtain calls

© franciman 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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Your work is always thought provoking, Jim. That’s why I enjoy reading it so much. The temptation of someone to stay, to try to recapture a former glory, only to be put down by a critical crowd, I think that’s something we all struggle with in one way or another. I find myself actually wincing at the last verse and trying not to remember when I’ve said a performer is past their prime. As always, both beautiful and candid.


Wow! Some very interesting rhyming going on, plus play on words, metaphors, uncle Tom Cobley an’ all. Every line suffused with meaning and pathos.
Alison x


It is more than just a play, isn’t it? It is a reflection of life – a mirror. Your skill brings it all to life in a very thought-provoking way.


I rather like the part,

‘Bums on seats’ is not just theatre parlance.
It’s down and outs, whose worn souls are holed.”


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