Life is a Stage

Today, before reading my poem, I invite you to read my post over @ Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads. In it, I share musings on poetry, writing & metaphor. The use of metaphor in language increases not only its beauty, but also its depth and power. It is no wonder to me that poetry is where we find metaphor in droves, whether concrete or abstract – it is the associations of words with images, sounds, smells & textures that makes it rich. Indeed, metaphor makes us aware of our own unique experiences. Suffice to say, I could write endlessly & perhaps complete a dissertation on the subject. While my post is unapologetically academic in tone, it isn’t for students alone – it’s for all humans who seek to know the world, what it means to them, and the myriad of ways in which we can express understanding through language.

My poem is also published in Space to Dream: Poems. I wrote it as a young woman, when I was embarking on the beginning of my journey in higher education as a music major. It is perhaps the largest metaphor that has shaped my life, for much of my experience has been either onstage or offstage in preparation for a performance. The stage, which may be a frightening space for some – has always been a place of refuge & safety to me. I close my eyes & feel a deep comfort in remembering the scent & feel of the curtains, that creaky spot in the backstage floorboards, the heat of the lights, the frenetic sounds of the orchestra tuning their instruments, the dust clouds in the prop room & the pitter-patter of dancers in soft shoe warming up.


Oliver, Hayden Auditorium, circa 1987
Show choir performance, Hayden Auditorium, circa 1989
ISU Madrigal Dinner Performance, 1999

ISU Madrigals concert, Center for the Performing Arts, 2000

Meet Me in St. Louis, Players Theatre, 2004
Greenville Chamber Singers concert, Biltmore Estate, 2007
Northshore Performing Arts concert, Fuhrmann Auditorium, 2013

These are some of the many performance memories I carry with me. I often joke that I could chart my life by the choirs that I’ve sung in and the theatres I’ve performed in, but there is truth in that jest. The time spent preparing for, as well as the performances themselves  – have become metaphors for my life just as the stage itself has, even at a time in my life when the offstage days of motherhood and writing have become my focus, with onstage performances becoming fewer.

My stage will always be there, all I have to do is look out into the light to see it.

Kiss me Kate, Little Theatre, 2014

Life is a Stage 

On my stage, time runs

unidentified

as I stand alone, content

to be with my music

It hold me with strong arms

that never let go.

On my stage, bright lights

blind me from seeing

those I know, and

I may be imperfect

but I am never wrong.

On my stage, I make the

decisions of who I want to be

and where I will go.

No one disagrees

and no one questions me.

On my stage

there is a foundation that holds me

when I doubt myself.

My music gives me confidence

it will never let me fall.

Who Killed the Kilt, La Fleur De Lis, 2015

On my stage, I can only

go forward, I can only

become brighter

until I reach perfection

only then does the applause come.

On my stage, I will smile

my heart fulfilled

then the lights will dim

and I will walk from my stage,

happy.

Copyright 1/19/2017 Stacie Eirich

Originally published in Space to Dream: Poems 

Kiss Me Kate, Little Theatre, 2014

Blithe Spirit, Playmakers Theatre, 2015

Author: seirich

I'm a mother, writer & dreamer living north of New Orleans, La. I love writing, music, theater, travel and my family. I've written and published four books of poetry and a children's novel: Tiger Kingdom & The Book of Destiny. I'm now working on a second children's novel.

12 thoughts on “Life is a Stage”

  1. We all need a place that makes us feel like we stand on top of the world… Then, we need to work until something in our reality gives us the same feeling. Our life should be our (safe) stage.

  2. Well, of course the Shakespeare quote is perfect – I have many performing children in my family (6) and so far 4 are making it a career choice. I understand this poem. It looks like you’ve had (and have) a rich musical life 🙂

  3. use of metaphor in language increases not
    only its beauty, but also its depth and power.

    It certainly sets the stage for a poem to be on a level higher than just bland writing. It is a convenient starting point in breeding lots of ideas not initially thought of earlier. Yes, agreed Stacie!

    Hank

  4. On my stage, I make the

    decisions of who I want to be

    and where I will go.

    This is such a self-affirming statement.

  5. I do love the confidence in declaring life to by your stage, and weaving that with your own performance make it so very affirmative and strong… love it and thanks for the prompt

  6. Shakespeare knew for certain what he was talking about. Look at you, thanks for sharing your charming photos and your compelling thoughts in that poem

    much love…

  7. The performative sanctum of the stage is a grand metaphor of the assured inner voice squared with its muse through nature’s gift and practice, practice, practice. To be so “held with strong arms” is a confidence borne by an aesthetic knowledge we poets rarely enjoy, no matter how many decades we dedicate to the craft. Perhaps if I memorized at the level of musical accomplishment I would have a surer place in the singing-hut … anyway: Thanks for all the pics and the fine revelations. If only life were a stage … Thanks for this, and the challenge.

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