The Stage

Failure lurks like sin

Waiting in the darkness

Beyond the broiling light—

Can’t think, the heat

It’s too strong

Where have they gone

All these bodies,

Sunken shadows

Mere eyes that gaze beyond

The boundaries of my knowing

Just breathe

It will be alright

But the shadows cling

Even in this sunlit inquisition.


I stand,

Cannot stay behind

The crowd awaits

Sink or swim

They may yet know my name.

My latest contribution to the wonderful One Shot Poetry Wednesdays! Once you’ve had a look, check out some of the other One Shot Poets as well– they’re a skilled bunch of poets, looking to form a community and support one another.  Enjoy!


32 thoughts on “The Stage

  1. Ooooohhh…the numbing chill that sets in before stepping on the stage!!! Well, I am not much of a stage person… brrr…. So I can totally relate to this one!
    Well put and an excellent One Shot!

    • Well, you know, polls have shown more people are actually afraid of public speaking than they are of death. And I think it was Seinfeld that quipped that at a funeral, more people would wish to be the ones in the casket than the ones giving the eulogies.

      Such silliness in ourselves! But thank you, and I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    • We may not like it, but many of us perform better under pressure. I guess it’s just a part of that whole “mastering your fears” bit.

      Thanks for swinging by!

  2. i am sure you have heard the emenim song…that is what this felt like…and where the name for oneshot came from…i know that feeling well and have always said if i dont feel th butterflies i am either not talking about what i need to or hard enough…or i am way too comfortable with what i am about to say…nice write…thanks for linking up!

    • Well I will admit Eminem’s not exactly my style, but I thank you for the sentiments, and for the read. Always a pleasure linking up–and I’m glad you enjoyed what I had to offer this week. And you are so right, if we don’t have that feeling in the pit of our stomachs, that slightest worry…are we really putting it all out there?

  3. Hi Chris. Strikes me as a self-conscious, metacognitive monologue, onset of panic perhaps… profound. Failure does seem to “lurk like sin.” Such fear can present major troubles for so many. Just remember “A man’s errors are his portals of discovery” (James Joyce). Great poetry.

    • Always a touch of panic in that moment beneath the lights…or that moment set before a camera. Always worrying, weighing on us like sin itself–and it can make for much trouble, but also inspire us to push for greater glories.

      Thank you, it’s always a pleasure Dustus! The kind words mean a lot.

    • It’s a trouble we all have to face at one point or another I think, whether on stage beneath the lights, merely speaking before a crowd, or put before a camera, script in hand and audience waiting.


    • Same here. I try to master the whole deep breaths thing, pace myself. If I’m not careful, I start talking a mile a minute!

      Thanks for stopping by–glad you liked the piece.

  4. very well put and you are right that public speaking is to be feared more than death…you live through the fear of public speaking..and if it goes wrong you have to live with that for along long time…very well out together and thanks for sharing with One Shot..cheers Pete

    • So true, so true. And it’s that thought that’s racing through the mind as you take the stage–mess up now, and everyone will know, and they’re going to keep on knowing, for who knows how long. At least until someone else does something sillier.

      Thanks for reading; always great participating in one shot!

  5. This had such a feel of the stage of life. Then again when we are on the stage it becomes so real. Loved the way you captured the feeling, that intensity as you break through the cloud of backstage and are suddenly center stage.

    I am so grateful for you Chris each and every word you pen.

    Glad you penned this for One Shot

    Love from the moon

    • From twilight to sunlight. You are quite right, it is such an intense feeling–to walk from the shadows, to stand beneath the broiling light and face the world. A moment in that light could stalk you for a lifetime…oh, such pressure.

      Your kind words are greatly appreciated Moon, ever welcome, and always cherished. Thank you, Moon–it’s always a pleasure writing with the rest of you talented poets of the One Shot community!

  6. hi Chris,

    thank you for stopping by my bloghome and commenting. i’m glad you enjoyed the simplicity and the power one can find in simplicity in my poem.

    warm smiles,

  7. Your words paint a perfect description of those moments just before… And that is the question. Before what? Dismal failure, complete with symbolic tomatoes thrown by judging eyes? Or grateful applause for the ride to somewhere else that a good performance provides?

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