Saturday, March 09, 2013

"Act III, Scene iii" by Madeleine L'Engle

Someone has altered the script.
My lines have been changed.
The other actors are shifting roles.
They don't come on when they're expected to,
and they don't say the lines I've written
and I'm being upstaged.
I thought I was writing this play
with a rather nice role for myself,
small, but juicy
and some excellent lines.
But nobody gives me my cues
and the scenery has been replaced
and I don't recognize the new sets.
This isn't the script I was writing.
I don't understand this play at all.

To grow up
is to find
the small part you are playing
in this extraordinary drama
written by
somebody else.

From Lines Scribbled on an Envelope and Other Poems (FSG, 1969)


  1. Nice! This brings to mind the last lines of the poem by Tony Hoagland - I Have News for You

    I have news for you—
    there are people who get up in the morning and cross a room
    and open a window to let the sweet breeze in
    and let it touch them all over their faces and bodies.

  2. This is so apropos for writers. When we take our work to critique groups and don't quite get the response back that we hoped for. When we send queries to agents and don't get the reaction we'd thought. When our books are published and the reviews aren't quite what we'd imagined. This is a good reminder to keep going anyway, to play our small part by working to create our best stories.

    Thanks for posting.