THE SEVEN AGES OF WOMAN: In Collaboration with Will Shakespeare, Feminist

(The Seven Ages Of Man, from Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT, was read recently at a reading group I belong to.  Someone suggested I rewrite it for women. Never one to resist a challenge, this is my effort.)

All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players.

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one woman in her time plays many parts,

Her act being seven ages.

At first the infant, mewling and puking on her father’s chest.

And then the texting schoolgirl with her Smartphone and eager Facebook face,  gnawing on blue nail,  fearful of the maths.

And then the maiden,  blushing as a setting sun,  a-quiver as an arrow to the heart, streaming ballads moaned by lusty, yearning swains.

Then a soldier, proud of loyal oath,  clad in boot and camo,  medaled in valor – sudden and quick with lipstick and scent,  seeking the foul foe  even as her chopper tangles blonded tress.

And then the matron with fair girdled hip,  with rich cocoa bean padded,  with eyes mascaraed  and stilettos of risky cut,  full of self and full of worthy deeds, and modern in her romance.  And so she plays her part.

The sixth age shifts into the plump and slippered pantsuit,  with spectacles on nose and cane at hand.  Her youthful jeans poorly saved,  a world too tight for her rounded shank;  and her high, squeaky voice turning again toward childish lisp, pipes and whistles in her sound.

Last scene of all, that ends this strange, eventful history is second childishness and mere oblivion, mewling and puking on her caregiver’s shoes,

sans teeth,

sans eyes and ears,

sans most of her hair,

sans balance and muscle tone,

sans wit and common sense,

sans sandals and shift,

sans credit card and savings account,

sans love life,

sans dreams,

sans everything worth a darn.

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