I am the only actor.
It is difficult for one woman
to act out a whole play.
The play is my life,
my solo act.
My running after the hands
and never catching up.
(The hands are out of sight –
that is, offstage.)
All I am doing onstage is running,
running to keep up,
but never making it.

Suddenly I stop running.
(This moves the plot along a bit.)
I give speeches, hundreds,
all prayers, all soliloquies.
I say absurd things like:
egss must not quarrel with stones
or, keep your broken arm inside your sleeve
or, I am standing upright
but my shadow is crooked.
And such and such.
Many boos. Many boos.

Despite that I go on to the last lines:
To be without God is to be a snake
who wants to swallow an elephant.
The curtain falls.
The audience rushes out.
It was a bad performance.
That’s because I’m the only actor
and there are few humans whose lives
will make an interesting play.
Don’t you agree?

Analysis, meaning and summary of Anne Sexton's poem The Play

1 Comment

  1. Marlene Sinclair says:

    The start in particular grabbed me, especially when it went on to say the play was my life. I paused and read on.. it touched me.

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