No Curtain Call

 No Curtain Call


A lazy sliver of moon rides a wisp of cloud

Held aloft by unseen wires among painted stars

Coyote yips in the distance; no answering call

Then the silent night wraps around me


On my back in the wind-cooled grass

I gaze at a sky, so vast so infinite

Wondering why I’m here… in this world

What my part is… in this grand cosmic play


It seems an easy role I’ve been given

That of a simple lonely man

I bungle a line now and then

But manage to stumble on


I used to dream one day she would arrive

The leading lady of this pointless drama

Twirling a frilly umbrella and smiling coyly

A better part must’ve come her way


A star suddenly falls; brilliant in its demise

A streak of dying white, then it’s gone

I wonder if that’s what life is

A flash of light; no evidence we were here


Another star silently streaks the night sky

A flash of brilliance then it’s over

I applaud with a crooked soundless smile

One act… The end… No curtain call

Copyright © 2012 C. Mashburn


  1. Claudia said

    very reflective mood here charles..sometimes not easy to find our place in the word…though really think we all leave our footprints..smaller and bigger ones and hopefully prints, that make the world a bit a better place..

    • True, Claudia. This not really refective of my refelcting, but more of a fictional piece with a touch of truth to it. I do sometimes wonder what my part is, but more and more I am aware that it is what it is, and in spite of my bumbling and stumbling, I’m getting it done!

  2. i hope that is not what life is all about…a flash in the sky or the pan…i like the applauding though of hte fallen star, that is cool…and i def know the feeling this guy is having trudging through life…

    • I think it’s all a matter of perspective, Brian. Sometimes I think our lives are brief in the overall scheme of things. But as you probably know, I also think we all have a part to play.

  3. AJ Walker said

    I mostly liked it. It started to go mushy in the middle but the beginning was a strong start.

    • Sorry I went soft on the middle, but glad you liked the start!
      Thanks for the visit and comment!

  4. Mary said

    Charles, this is intense. I think we all wonder sometimes why we are here, what purpose we serve in this vast universe. And, yup, all we get is one act. We have to make the best of that one act before that curtain call!

  5. I think there is so much more to ‘us’ than we have even began yet to understand.
    This is lovely. A very good attempt Charles. 🙂

    • I think there is more to everything than we realize, Daydreamer!
      Thanks for stopping by. I always appreciate your comments!

  6. I like your reflections on our life, using the falling star as a flash of light, then another star denoting our one chance, one act. I like to think we are given a lot of chances, like the stars in the sjy, but its up to us to choose our “star” ~ Enjoyed the visit ~

    • I agree, heaven. I think we get lots of chances to shine, and if we keep our light burning, we will keep on shining!

  7. Very lovely poem, Charles – you set the stage, and then take your part in it, which is in some ways exiled from understanding, in other ways not. (I think you may mean role, the prompt caller in me says.)

    Also – I’m not so private – Karin Gustafson! – I started out fairly anonymously because I am an attorney, which is always problematic (not just because of people’s feelings about lawyers), but I’m feeling a bit less paranoid these days. Thanks for a lovely poem. k.

    • HA! I knew I could draw you out into the open! Seriously, I wondered why you always use the one initial. The business angle makes perfect sense.
      Thank you for catching the wrong role. I truly appreciate it. However, don’t try to help me with punctuation; it’s a mistake for me to even try and use it–especially in poems–and when I do, I usually get it wrong. Sherry has been editing my writings for years, and I either use a comma when I shouldn’t or don’t use one when I should! I refer to my writing style as commatyzing. I don’t have clue when to use the darn things!
      Thanks for the great prompt this evening!

      • Ha ha! You’ve seen my comma comments! Won’t even try! k.

      • Yes’m, I have! It should be fairly obvious I’m beyond help in that department.

  8. Oh…yes I like that, one silent star…flash of brilliance. one act…the end…no curtain call… that’s life isn’t it…but at least we all get to shine even if it’s only once! Very nice Charles!

    • Yes we do! And I believe it’s up to us how bright we shine.
      Thanks for the visit and comment, Dianne!

  9. kaykuala said

    Life is meant for the living. May be slow and at a loss in the beginning. It will stabilize as the pace picks up. Hopefully there are no hiccups in between, may be a little! But at least we must make an impact, that’s true! Great write Charles!


  10. hedgewitch said

    I really felt wrapped up in this one Charles–many many nights when I can’t sleep I spend looking up at the stars–it’s still a thing of wonder for me to see a meteorite flash, or to be able to pick out the Milky Way on a clear night, having grown up where the only light at night was electric. I also can identify with your musings…our time is so short (compared to the earth, the sky and all that eternal stuff.) Enjoyed it much.

    • Thank you so much! The musing about moon and stars is from memory. Truth be told, I seldom see them anymore, and it’s been this way for years. The main reason being I am rarely awake when they are out, and if I am it’s early in the morning, and I seldom think to step outside and take a look at them. I should. As for the meaning of life; a common thread among most of us, I think.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the poem.

  11. An effective metaphor, that falling star, the flash of light. Knowing what I do of you and how you speak of your wife, I suspect this is largely fictional but the point is well made.

    • Yes, the leading lady portion of this one is definitely fiction. She is at my side and plays her part well. The other parts of the poem do have their moments in my thoughts, but typically they are fleeting.
      Thank you for the comment, Victoria!

  12. I often wonder why I’m here, somedays the waters are so muddy it’s hard to see you know?! And your leading lady finding a better part… Love that Charles.


  14. Mr. Watson said

    It really makes you look at yourself in a different light! Life is incredible … And it’s about the things u do during ur time here! Great poem!

    • It definitely is about what we do while we’re here, Craig. If your father’s day poem is an indication of what you do, you are doing great things!

  15. you make exile seem a bit sweet…

  16. Susan said

    I like it! . . . and when you read my poems don’t assume it’s always about me either! Here, the lost lady, the shooting stars, the wry smile, the comfort of the scene–this is an idle philosophizer, ready to grab the world but only if it comes right by him.

    • Thanks for the great comment, Susan. I especially enjoyed the lazy philosopher compliment. It’s like you KNOW me!

      • Susan said

        (I hope I did not offend you. It is a compliment to your poem.)

      • Oh, heavens no, Susan! I was not offended at all! I’m not easily offended, and if I am, I rarely strike back. I was merely having some fun with the comment!
        Communicating with the written word is a tricky thing. Words can easily be misunderstood when no voice inflections or facial expressions accompany them.
        I enjoyed your original comment! I thought it was great!

  17. shanyns said

    Some days are just like that, your poem evokes those strong feelings and questions. I wonder about them too…really good Charles!

  18. Perfect ending! I think I actually said, “Ohhh” aloud when I read it. We are but a vapor–humbling thought.

  19. So beautifully evocative! I really liked this one!

  20. Raivenne said

    What part can be better than having you in our lives even if only through the Internet?

    Facing one’s mortality is a tenuous thing for most, no? Most are afraid their lives won’t ever be noted for existing, let alone being a flash to note.

  21. Reblogged this on Marbles In My Pocket ~ The Official Blog of Charles L. Mashburn ~ Poems, Short Stories, and random thoughts from the author of "Be Still… and know that I am God" and commented:

    Bear in mind this is a mood piece, and in no way reflects my reality. My leading lady did indeed arrive, and her umbrella was a love that covers me with a joy beyond my wildest dreams. And, I am quite certain the curtain call will come when life on this earth is done. It will be glorious!

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