I heard that life is no rehearsal,
But performance of the play;
Yet I have spent so long in learning lines
I missed my time and lost the way.
So I become a critic in the wings,
Mocking observer of what others do and say,
And dream of being the deus ex machine
In the final act, when I have my day.
But will I still be waiting here
When the curtain falls for the ending of the play,
And the last of the watchers has wandered off
To the empty street and the dying day?
©Virginia Rounding, 1988
First published in Apostrophe 12, Autumn 1996