The Curtain

Perhaps you know that story where people step 
out of this world and into another through 
a split in the air – they feel for it 

as you would your way across a stage curtain, 
after your one act, plucking at the pleats,  
trying for the folded-in opening through which 

you shiver and shoulder yourself 
without so much as a glance up
to the gods, so keen are you to get back

to where you were before your entrance:
those dim familiar wings, you invisible,
bumping into things you half-remember

blinded as you’d been out there
in the onslaught of lights, yes, blinded
but wholly attended to in your blindness.

No tears then. Just one of us to hold 
aside the curtain – here we are, there you go –
before letting it slump majestically back 

to that oddly satisfying inch above the boards
in which we glimpse a shadowy shuffling dark.
And when the lights come on and we turn to each other

who’s to say they won’t already be
in their dressing room, peeling off the layers,
wiping away that face we have loved,

unbecoming themselves to step out 
into the stream of the night crowds.

 

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Recordings

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1The Convert

2Errand

3Allies

4A Hundred Sheep in a Green Field

5The Fitter

6The Night We Stole a Full-length Mirror

7Greece

8The List

9Husband

10Waving Goodbye to the Elegists

11Convalescence

12Object

13Pupil

14A Puzzle in Four Seasons

15Salvation Jane

16The Wait

17You drew breath

18Matter

19At Play

20Verfremdungseffekt

21Philosophy for Children

22Counting

23The Engraver

24The Curtain

25Lifeguard

26Lamb

27Daughter

28Deep Sea Diver

29Voicemail

30ICU

31And here you are

32All those turning

33Letter from Sido

34Two o’clock

35Boy with Candle

36Skull and Hourglass

37Fire on the Beach

Books by Greta Stoddart