“What’s past is prologue,” but what does that mean?
Backstage crates, busts of saints, masks, mistakes and misgiving
That clutter the catwalk and tangle the changes of scene —
Old props obstruct the entrance of the living.
Prep, prolegomenon, foreword, and preface,
The now comes on with barely room to maneuver;
If all the world’s a stage, all that’s left is a crevice
In classics compressed, heaped Art, and obscurity smoother.
NOTES for Students of English
“What’s past is prologue” – A famous quotation from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, Act 2, scene 1.
Catwalk – In a theater, a narrow walkway high above the stage used by technicians to gain access to lights and scenery controls.
Prolegomenon – (Pronounced pro-le-GOM-e-non) A formal essay or critical discussion serving to introduce and interpret an extended work.
“All the world’s a stage” – A famous quotation from Shakespeare’s play As You Like It, Act 2, scene 7.