Poetic Influence No. 4: “All the World’s a Stage”

        William Shakespeare’s poetic monologue  “All the World’s a Stage” from As You Like It begins with two lines that practically everyone knows today.  Those lines, of course, are:

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players”.

        I only wish I could write such memorable lines.  Of course what most people probably don’t recall is that after those two timeless lines, Shakespeare moves into an extended metaphor about the seven stages of life.  He ends the final stage with “oblivion.”  In “The Past, Present, and Future,” I delve into the three stages of time and then close with “The End of Time;” my way of bringing a close to the whole concept.  Shakespeare weaves through the path of one’s life and closes it out in the end, and my poetry weaves through time and close time out in the end.  In my poem, though, I left a little wiggle room with this line: “In the end, I suppose we’ll never know.”  As far as we have come as a species, there is still so much we just don’t know.  As a matter of fact, scientifically speaking there is much more that we don’t know than we know.  According to some estimates, 23% of the mass of the Universe is invisible, 73% of the mass of the Universe is dark energy, and the other four percent is in the atoms that make up you and me, the stars, planets, and everything else we can see.  Oh yeah, did I mention that the four percent is the stuff that we know and understand.  Anyway, I think you get the idea.  The more you know, the less you know….  That of course brings us right back to where we began, as merely players on a stage.


Photo by Elizabeth McCullough