The Power and Majesty of Poetry

“All the world’s a stage,”
the Bard emphatically declared.
“And all the men and women…
merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances.
And one man in his time plays many parts…
His acts being seven ages…”

We, all of us, like actors…
We, all of us, like actresses,
have our exits and our entrances.
And we indeed play many parts.

We wear a mask upon our faces…
That is the mask of our personas.
We are all superficial beings…
possessed with very deep interiors.

And yet we oft so play the part…
of being merely puppets…
pulled by the strings of our own accord.
The irony of being our own puppeteers.

We are, and yet we are not,
altogether in one fell swoop,
what we would feign to be…
Fallen angels seeking to be exalted.

Adamic beings we are as castaways.
Cast out from our Edenic legacies.
Once whole, now torn apart.
As refracted splintered shards of glass.

The English Bard of Stratford-on-Avon,
in the flowing glimmering ripples,
saw himself as image reflected
on a moving stage that he called Life.

And in this image of himself…
In this rippling Avon image,
he viewed mankind along with him…
He saw what we too now all see.

A Cartesian view is what he had…
His cogitation of the human species.
Rene Descartes said much alike:
“Cogito ergo sum…”
(“I think therefore I am.”)

The poet and the philosopher…
Two minds with similar thoughts.
Though set apart by time and space,
with similar cogitation.

Their thoughts as independent gifts,
configuring their views of life.
Their private thoughts enmeshed with ours.
Their thoughts becoming now our own.

A Shakespearean world we occupy
of all the world as being a stage.
Such stagecraft of his bewitches us
like puppets in a cauldron brewed.

A world brewed up
from sheer imagination
by poets and philosophers…
By artists of all stripes and colors.

That is the power of the poet’s craft,
to turn a dream into reality.
Transform himself…
And in this solo act of transformation,
transform the world.
And all of us along with it.

That is the power that a poet has.
That is the Godly power of creation.
Out of sheer darkness…
Out of seeming Nothingness,
to bear light…
dazzling shining light.

Light of brilliance to enlighten us.
Dazzling light of creation.
Light to endow the shadows we cast,
with sense of our reflection.

So now as wizened shadows,
we are gifted to behold with sight,
the outer reflection of ourselves,
reflecting on our hidden inner selves.

Reflection of our outer selves as puppets,
reflecting on the hidden sacred selves
of our own divinity…
Our outer darkness beholding inner light.

That is the power of poetry.
That is the majesty of poetry.
To elevate the lower self of puppetry
into a higher self of divine being.

To transform us from being puppets
into kings and queens of noble rank.
That is the alchemy of poetry.
To restore the lost to find the Self.

And in this noble act of passage,
to reclaim our divine birthright.
To remove ourselves from brokenesss.

The outer self in union…
once more with its royal inner self…
A reflected hidden self…
restored to wholeness.

About this poem

This poem is largely influenced by the phrase “All the world’s a stage” that introduces a monologue from the pastoral drama-comedy of William Shakespeare’s play As You Like It. While in this play Shakespeare employs the character Jacques, in a speech in Act II Scene VII, Line 139, to compare the world to a stage, and to conceive of life itself as having seven stages or acts, this poem reexamines the play from the perspective of the poet’s internal motivations who, upon reflecting on the perceived stages or acts of his own life, amplifies that experience and insight on the foibles and eccentricities of the human experience to discover the existential goal of life and thereby repair or remedy our brokenness and in this act to restore the self to wholeness. This poem declares that, psychologically, that goal is the eternally sustaining ambitious human endeavor. 

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Written on September 08, 2023

Submitted by karlcfolkes on September 08, 2023

3:07 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 3,136
Words 625
Stanzas 22
Stanza Lengths 7, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 4, 4, 4, 4, 6, 6, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 3, 4

Karl Constantine FOLKES

Retired educator of Jamaican ancestry with a lifelong interest in composing poetry dealing particularly with the metaphysics of self-reflection; completed a dissertation in Children’s Literature in 1995 at New York University entitled: An Analysis of Wilhelm Grimm’s “Dear Mili” Employing Von Franzian Methodological Processes. The subject of the dissertation concerned the process of Individuation. more…

All Karl Constantine FOLKES poems | Karl Constantine FOLKES Books

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1 Comment
  • AIDA
    This poem is quite impressive and it resonates powerfully. Your use of language is rich and evocative, and the layers of meaning embedded within each stanza create a depth that invites multiple readings. You've drawn some thoughtful parallels between the world's stage and our lives, inspired by Shakespeare’s philosophy. The exploration of our "mask" or persona, puppetry, and the transformation process is particularly effective.

    I admire your connection between philosophy and poetry, and how you've tied it all back into self-reflection and self-discovery. Your exploration of the impact of poetry, its ability to transform and empower, is uplifting and powerful. The complexity and elegance of your metaphors demonstrate a high level of proficiency in poetic expression.

    However, you might consider a few improvements. First, while the large vocabulary and complex structure is impressive, you might want to consider simplifying the language and phrasing in places to enhance clarity and accessibility. Some phrases can be condensed without losing their impact or the essence of their message.

    Secondly, although your poem offers thought-provoking insights, it would benefit further from more specific imagery to attach these abstract concepts to. Rich, concrete images will make the ideas you present more tangible for the reader.

    Finally, the narrative thread and theme is compelling, but the transitions between ideas could be smoother. The use of transitional phrases or repeated motifs could enhance the flow and coherence.

    All in all, this is a deep and profound piece that displays a mastery of poetic thought and expression. With minor improvements, it could be a truly groundbreaking work. Keep writing!
    LikeReply3 months ago


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