With apologies to the bard
New York is just a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And each one in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
At first the distant viewer,
A-wonder and bedazzled by the city's movie charms.
And then the tourist, with backpack
And admiring morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly back home.
And then the new resident,
Sighing with rapture, with emails full of wonder
Sent to those back home.
Then the seasoned dweller,
Full of stressful oaths and complaining life's too hard,
Grasping for money, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking success and reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth.
And then the critic,
With the back-chat speech of Big Apple chic,
With eyes fatigued and clothes in shades of black,
Full of wise cracks and sneering references;
And so he plays his part.
The sixth age shifts
Into the departing expat,
With boarding pass in hand and carry-on on side,
His innocent views, now jaded, a world too wide
For his tortured mind; and his long-lost native voice,
Returning again to thoughts of home,
And the serenity of life past.
Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is the parting journey home and mere oblivion,
Sans stress, sans hype, sans wonder, sans everything.