The Eleventh Hour

Would I Change this Life of Mine?

“Oh my God, what have I done?”

A million points of light lined up

And danced across the dim-lit room

While smoke broke through their ordered tiers

Pale shadows cast the white-framed screen

To life amidst the musty gloom.

A bridge across too many years

His life was spanned by different scenes.

Anticipation then welled up

And pranced around the empty cell

While counting downwards to the start

The gentle ticks cut through his fear,

Machines fed by the spinning reels

One casting back with disregard

The other’s softly flowing tears.

The credits rolled, the music played

Crescendo adding to the mood

And soon the actor’s face displayed

With makeup masked by shades of grey

For these were scenes of younger days

And time had yet to etch the lines

Of loneliness upon his soul.

The blinds were drawn, and all alone

He journeyed back to neighbourhoods

Not walked since very long ago.

His thin lips moved in time to words

Not spoken fifty years, nor heard

Yet he could still recall the lines

The critics called his greatest role.

Suddenly, inexplicably,

Overwhelmingly a sadness flowed

To drown the sounds within his ears.

Images dancing before his eyes

Became his life…

A private show,

A personal tour

And disjointed words

Spoken by him for him alone to hear.

“Oh my God, what have I done?

I held the muse so firmly by the hand

And, basking in her sweet smile, I revelled

In the love of those less fortunate souls.

Not once did she rebuke me, nor the fans

On whose gaze I played at every level

And they all in awe looked up to the role

The muse had thrust upon her ever-willing groom.

Every fibre of my being, it seemed,

In all my dreams, craved for fame and fortune

In all my dreams I’m bowing to acclaim,

Applause so loud it deafens out the screams

Of all those trampled on and all those used,

Abused and cast aside, all in the name

Of fame, my fame, and swept so cleanly by my broom.

Look at those looks, rare sculpted, fair of face

So full of grace to make the angels sing!

Proud Adonis struts while mere mortals swoon.

Groomed golden hair each strand held in its place

What poise, what presence ever commanding

Born to the role once sown in nature’s womb

To give the magic lantern a reason for its being.

The trembling claws of age scratched hard and deep

To keep the weight of time in lines and folds.

The golden locks shed, the eyesight faded

Those looks were just borrowed, not mine to keep,

Given by gods and for me but to hold

So fleetingly until at last, jaded

I reluctantly return them to nature’s cruel care.

And when I leave this life of mine

My godlike face I’ll leave behind…

And what physique! Uniquely muscular

So strong and bronzed to make the angels fly!

Proud Hercules struts while all women dream

To be held so lovingly in those arms

A gentle haven from the cares of life

Kept safe from harm their hero plays out scenes

And rescues virgin damsels from their cold and dreary lives.

The battle with time now lost so the scars

Are all that is left, and soft are the hands

That once held the weight of stardom so high.

I fought the dragons of sloth and the stars

Rewarded my toil, a statuesque man

I stood tall. Now I stoop, a shadow am I

As I bow and I wait for nature’s final caress.

And when I leave this life of mine

My godlike form I’ll leave behind…

Good fortune smiled and piled her favours high

Upon her gifted son, and wealth beyond

His wildest dream was laid upon his plate.

Proud Midas touch, while others fell aside

Success came quick, and just as quick was gone

Fleeting and fickle still the hand of fate

But riches stayed behind and good fortune paid the dues.

Friends came and went, blown by the weather fair

As were ‘relationships’ no more than brief

Liaisons, and no purpose did they hold

Except my ego feed. So none would dare

To come too close in case they came to grief

The victims of my jealous side, so cold

This heart that I closed tight to fight for golden refuge.

And when I leave this life of mine

My Midas gold I’ll leave behind…

What of my name? This much I say with pride

That so many sang my praise, called my name

And many claimed no greater man alive.

Though none could see beyond and deep inside

My public how they loved me all the same,

And calls for one more encore will survive

The curtain’s final falling upon this stage of life.

How empty the sounds, how hollow the feeling,

Sincerity lacking in every word

And shallow emotion slacking in meaning,

The sycophant’s laugh so falsely appealing

Was surely the worst sound I ever heard.

My eyes are now open and finally seeing

That they too were all acting, and much better than I.

And when I leave this life of mine

My worthless name I’ll leave behind…

Now looking back it seems an empty life

Was filled with things that really didn’t count

For much and missing of the things that did.

What cost the prize but full of endless strife

Is that what existence should be all about?

To elude true happiness, unfulfilled

I conclude this precious gift was worthless in the end.

Vanity passing in the night, at dawn

A gentle kiss goodbye and wave of hand.

The grip of vice weakens and falls away,

No more to play within my sacred halls.

Where there was dark across this barren land

The light now shines and ushers in the day,

And tears of joy now fall upon my youthful form again.

Yet would I change this life of mine

For something good to leave behind…

“Oh my God, see what I’ve done!”


BY Les Roberts



Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Feel Your Body
Relax your body, and just be aware of how your body feels. Without changing anything, notice what you are feeling, and where you are feeling things in your body.  If your body wants to adjust a little, let it. Be curious how it feels as your body relaxes.

Subscribe to UPLIFT's free Newsletter

Get our regular newsletter sharing the latest updates, articles, films and events.