The title is paradoxical with the position of the poem in the collection – Last Act at the beginning. Perhaps Sheers is telling us that this collection will not be dealing with the conventional topics and ideas, but rather making us question more complex ideas. The poem is one stanza of free verse, and sounds more chatty and informal than the rest of the collection.
In this poem, like History, Sheers addresses the reader directly: ‘don’t be surprised it has taken so long to show you these’. ‘These’ is referring to the collection, and so Sheers is suggesting the period of time between the publishing of Skirrid Hill and his previous collection. If so, then ‘the actor, bowing as himself for the first time all night’ could be referring to his previous collection – The Blue Book, which received quite a lot of criticism– and suggesting Skirrid Hill is his first, genuine collection.
Sheers is perhaps suggesting a writer’s-block as his reason for the delay of Skirrid Hill: ‘the stuck record of my tongue’.
Many of the words used in this poem, reflect the themes and ideas in the following poems. For example theatre: ‘act’, ‘curtain’, ‘scenes’ and ‘spotlight’.