Fête / Fate

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Fête / Fate

Clowns are clowning,
playing up to the crowds.
The stilt walker in his top hat
climbs up to the clouds.
The man on the unicycle
tips his hat, winks his eye
at all the little girls
as they pass him by,
one on a white horse,
one with a teddy bear,
and one who’s invisible
and is no longer there.

 The tight-tope walker
walks his plank
trying not to fall
on wondering,
upturned faces
and open eyes
that watch it all.

The seals do their sea-side thing,
balls balanced on their noses,
tossing beach balls upwards
to the little girl who poses,
then juggles them so cleverly
while the clowns start to sing.

The magician conjures rabbits
and covers them with flowers.
Everyone is happy, though they’ve
been sitting still for hours.

On the trapeze, a little slip:
the artiste falls through the air.
She doesn’t have a safety net.
The silent crowds just stare
at her body twitching there:
yellow sawdust, golden hair.

Comment: This poem was written in Kingsbrae, but I don’t think it will be part of the Kingsbrae Sequence. I wrote it this morning after reading in the online Guardian about the developments circling around Brexit in the wake of the recent UK election and Naomi Klein’s article, also in the Guardian, on The Shock Doctrine. Life is indeed like a circus, as the old song says, but we’re in grave danger of falling off the trapeze.

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