The poem above is written in free verse
- no particular rhyme scheme
is intended. However, there are many instances of alliteration
which serves to emphasize certain concepts within the poem.
Through college one hears of this mythical place called "real life". To some, it appears to be a paradise free from academic concerns and papers to be written and no stress. The poet wonders about the student who expects everything to be grand after leaving college.
From here, the poem looks at three women and various career choices...
First we have Linda who is a business woman. The routine is emphasized by the alliteration on the next line containing four 'p's: paperwork, pens, panty-hose, and paperwork (again). The life described is one of a manager and classic consultant career. The early morning flight is often termed the red-eye (at this point, I wonder if the poet would have used that turn of phrase if the muse had suggested it during the writing). The difficulty with the management and consultant style of life is the lack of time to one's self. Of the managers (all women coincidently) that I have known two are divorced, and three are single with no intent of 'settling down'. The description of the business woman is one that is very accurate.
The second women is Betty - who is a housewife. One should realize the dreams of Linda being manifest in the life that Betty lives. The life of a housewife is presented as rather tedious with a baby to care for and uninteresting food and chores. Betty's husband is portrayed as a rather insensitive guy (sitting in front of the TV and only caring about himself during lovemaking). The dreams that Betty has are of the life of a field worker in the tropical wilderness.
Susan is a scientist who works in a rainforest (thus the dream of Betty is manifest in Susan's life). However, Susan's life is full of stress just as Linda's and Betty's lives are. She is engaged in a race against the destruction of the rainforest trying to preserve as much of the insect life as she can. Around her, she can hear the very destruction she is racing against and wishes that she had the life a business woman (like that of Linda) who is unaware of the rainforest (the phrase blissful ignorance being very close to ignorance is bliss).
In each case, the grass is greener on the other side - the dreams and fantasies of one person are the living nightmare of another. Ultimately, life is simply living and acting. As such, we should each take joy and celebrate what we do have and to an extent, be happy with it. The closing is very similar to one of the passages of Epictetus (The Golden Sayings of Epictetus, 159)
Remember that thou art an actor in a play, and of such sort as the Author chooses, whether long or short.
If it be his good pleasure to assign thee the part of a beggar, a ruler, or a simple citizen, thine it is to play it fitly.
For thy business is to act the part assigned thee, well: to choose it,
Ultimately, life is what we make of it.