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Te Tairawhiti poetry competition

Spring’s Soliloquy - The ‘Eight’ Ages of Man

by William Donald Siataga

“All the worlds a stage, and all the men

and women are merely players,

They have their exits and entrances

and one man in his age plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages”

— William Shakespeare


Dear Mr Shakespeare Esquire -

Dear William,

I beg to differ.

If we count man’s conception & gestation,

Man’s acts will equate to eight.

— Please consider.

Act I

Our conception

was the result of intercourse,

Let us not play the prude;

Let’s speak honestly & openly!

During this time we developed

in our mothers womb;

Gestation is another term

for pregnancy.

When our nine months are up,

out we did come,

To the relief of mummy & daddy,

A baby boy or baby girl,

— Fee-fi-fo-fum!

Act II

Now’s the time

for that voracious appetite,

those tantrums

the constipation

those nappies stacked yea-high!

Then there’s those titties, a mountain

of milk formula,


those sleepless nights!

“The mewling, the puking”


‘I got a headache honey,

not tonight!’

Learning to talk,


learning to walk,

are the next items on the list,

The rest is called love

& they be sealed with a heartfelt kiss!


This be the time

to extend those formative years.

To the fore be the light,

to the aft be the tears!

From kindergarten,

to primary school,

From intermediate

to high school,

Then on to university, maybe;


will it be a case of,

“Nah, enough learning for me!”

But questions we will have,

& questions we will ask,

A broken record,

A sudden bourrasque!

Act IV

Somewhere along the way

The boy & girl learnt the difference

between love & lust,

— The difference between

grains of gold & motes of dust.

The thing is you’ll never know

until you ask,

That face will remain hidden

until you remove the mask!

The sheen of exuberance

defines our youth,

The handsome man

A beautiful woman,

A time for soul searching,

A time for truth.

Act V

You do not have to be a soldier

to enter life’s fray,

Just a little bit older,

minus all the horseplay.

For yea & nay,

Thank you & please,

remain very important words

we utter each day.

Action & consequence,

Thought or implied,

Yin & yang

will not be denied!

It is here that

we learn the nuances

of right & wrong;


What be our weaknesses,


What makes us strong!

Act VI

We now enter a time

when lessons a-plenty we have learnt.

Our lifetime before us bears witness

to what we have earnt!

This be a time

when we should be quite settled,

— Smooth be the diecast

with all its rough edges fettled,

But man has

a penchant for change,


when you least expect it,

— k - a - p - o - w !

Your life is rearranged,

because the goal-posts were shifted!

That, we live and we learn,

Well, ain’t that the truth?

— If we are lucky enough

to reach our senior years,

We become living proof!

Wisdom should we,

a mantle wear,

What thou hast been given,

so must ye share.


It is said that we enter

our ‘twilight years’ here-abouts,

But I will let you determine,

the term, ‘twilight years’,

against your living breath

& heart devout!

It is said that we enter

‘the winter of our discontent’ here-abouts,

But I say thee nay,

with a mind that is true

& a spirit stout.

‘Tis the eternal song of spring

that fills the air,

The promise of rebirth

on the wind declared.


Slowly, slowly,

the candle dims,

but never ever

the hope of spring.

For our lifetime teaches us,

that we live in a cycle

where endings are beginnings

& death,

is where our spring-time bud,

will be planted in eternity!