Circus

Below is a poem written in 1968, while I was still at school. I’m using this today due to problems with the WordPress site which is preventing me from uploading images at present. The post intended for today was a brief commentary on Patrick Heron’s portrait of the poet, T.S. Eliot.

Circus

A thousand ostriches stare at the ceiling
A guest Jamaican spider hangs from his net
Woven at a height to top all heights
The cackling dies down and only the sound
Of crunched sugar corn nibbles at the silence
The pat of the drum breaks into a gallop
The ants below in the sawdust hold hands
The little flies forget their grievances
And pray crossing their wings anxiously

The spotlight spins wildly and drags the beam
Up to where the nonchalant performer
Spits into six of his legs and then waves
To a group of relatives sitting way below
As he now begins the eight-legged hop
People faint at liberty throughout the enclosure
He slowly swings from one leg to another
One two three four he stops smiles
Scratches his back five six he slips
And tumbles down like a feather into the arena
Some scream some cry and some just marvel
At the grace and control as he fell earthwards

The rusty tinkle of coins is heard
As clean hankies are pulled from pockets
To soak up the tears
                                     A doctor arrives
The spider is dead go home that’s all today

Back with more thrills next week says the ringmaster

No one remembers our Jamaican friend any more
And his black widow just spins and spins
Day in day out slip one
Day in day out slip one

John Lyons

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