“The World is a Play” a poem by Bryce Bivens



I wear a harlequin mask, I cannot throw it away.

I dance around in robes and colored cloths,

In shoes with gold buckles and ringing bells.

I recite great verses and sacred psalms

The crowds applaud and cheer and the sounds ring in my ears.

I am on the stage, for the whole world to see,

And I am the toast of every ball

And I am the envy of every parade.

I sit upon my silvery throne,

I look down at the crowds, their eyes all a wondrous glow

With the joy they act out as they join in and sing,

But it is all a show, a simple play.

A performance acted out every day.


I wear a mask in every act and scene

Whether it frowns or laughs, or under it is a giggle or a sneer,

I have no choice but to put it on, anyway, every day.

Without it who would know my name?

I would be nothing but a wash up, wearing sackcloth,

The man the world stage threw away.


We wear our harlequin masks,

We cannot throw them away.

If we ever put them down, we would have no life, there would be no play.

The great show must go on.

So, let us put our faces on and sing.


Bryce Bivens is a Political Science student studying International Relations (Specializing in East Asia) and Japanese language at MTSU. He has lived in several states across America and in Australia, as well as having traveled to many countries.  He enjoys studying history, philosophy and politics, and his interests include outdoor recreation, gaming, science, and mechanics. Some of his favorite franchises are Star Wars, Warhammer 40k and Fantasy, Halo, the Sheanera series, and many others.

Indeed, his interests extend into many areas, including writing, wherein he specializes in science fiction and fantasy, which he loves most; he prefers to write short stories but dabbles in poetry.  He also is an amateur blacksmith learning the craft.

Anna Waggoner: “Lips of a Stranger”

Nashville based singer-songwriter and MTSU Recording Industry student Anna Waggoner wrote her first song when she was 10 years old, and has been in love with songwriting ever since. Her songs span multiple genres, and she cites her main influences as James Taylor, Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, and Taylor Swift. Playing guitar, piano, ukulele, harmonica, and self-recording most of her songs, Anna is a musician as well as a wordsmith. Lyrics are usually her favorite part of a song, and she tries to write lyrics that are introspective and cognizant of the human condition.


Anna keeps God at the core of everything she does, and she feels her purpose in life is to inspire others. She hopes that as you listen to her music, you will be comforted, encouraged, and inspired.

Anna Waggoner

Along with releasing her music online, Anna debuts many of her songs on her weekly radio show, “Around The Waves” on WMTS 88.3 FM. She has been a radio DJ for the past few years, and was recently hired at another radio station as an on-air personality.


“Lips of a Stranger” is her most recent release, and is fairly different from anything she’s released prior. If you like this song, you can check out more of her music at https://soundcloud.com/anna-waggoner . You can also keep up with her on social media @AnnaE_Nashville to get updates about her song releases and radio show. 

Over the Next Hill, by Dana Tri


Dana Tri was born at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and has traveled most of her life.  She found the constant moving exhilarating and discovered she had a passion for culture and language.  She is a veteran of the United States Air Force and spent her time in service as a Korean Linguist.  Currently, she and her husband reside in Spring Hill, Tennessee.  After obtaining her Associate of Science at Columbia State Community College, she has now transferred to Middle Tennessee State University to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts where she plans to graduate in Spring of 2018.  Her medium of choice is oil, both on canvas and board.  She has had work published in print and web media.  Coordinating both nationally and internationally, she has completed personalized commisions in both traditional and digital mediums from places such as Hawaii, Florida, and England.

Over the next hill
16X20 Acrylic and Oil on Canvas


The essence of the human spirit is what I am driven to study.  It is not a path driven by religion, culture or politics, but rather one birthed from a desire to share and connect with individual members of society who, over time, have become increasingly more isolated and compartmentalized from one another.  In the creation of each piece, there is the ambition that each viewer of the finished product will feel a sense of community, unity and belonging.

20171002-dana-tri-girlandwolf-04 (1)

My process continues to evolve as I delve further into the field of oils.  Application of the paint in thin glazes over the initial background color enables deeper colors and sets the mood of the artwork.  Using the technique of glazes is a tool to better tell the story, to better describe the feelings I wish to evoke in the artwork.  The application of thicker paint is also a choice that involves the sensations I want to evoke.  The glazes allow for a luminescence, while the thicker paint is used for emphasis.  There is a sense of thoughtfulness within an artwork created this way, and I believe that the process along with the actual message of the piece are both equally as important for the final piece.


See Dana’s online portfolio and sketchbook.