i. The Prologue
When that April with its sweet showers
Has filled the planting tubs with yellow flowers
Then people start a pilgrimage of sorts
To far off places served by local airports.
ii. King of Beasts
You call that rubbish poetry?
Don’t make me laugh, I haven’t got the time
For introspective self-congratulation
And all that clever stuff in every line
Half-rhyme and assonance and half-assed rhythm
And all because they couldn’t find a rhyme.
Don’t look surprised
I went to school.
Four hours a week of English lit thank you
And if some lines live in me still
It’s like that Pavlov’s bell, the dog I mean,
The half remembered hollow whine and moan.
Spare me your sensitivity:
That heartfelt secret sharing was done with
Long ago. The recollection uselessly recalls
That hopeless, helpless fluttering
Quiet fear, that steals in on a sleepless night
Through eyes tight shut; the tiger at the edge of sight.
The circus tiger is a sad dishevelled creature
Right thinking animal lovers shy away.
The cramped cage; the scruffy hide
Cadging its living from cheap performance
That only thrills in case the creature might just…
The zoo bred beast is sleek of coat
And furnished with optimal living conditions
In which to pace: mad eyes, outstaring
The children banging on the glass;
And lying prone upon the grass for hours
Envies the circus beast his sense of purpose
In jungle paddies
Striped death waits, or watches,
Sleeps or splashes playfully,
Or crashes bleeding
Going down in a hail of bullets
The last true outlaw.
iv. After the Circus
Words and thoughts that coil
Around your fevered night-time
Spun lines of
Fractured significance not
Dreams but fading like dreams
The soft bruised fruit
Of late awakefulness.
Ideas that captured your
Sleepless dreams and seemed
So vital cutting through the daytime doubts
What feeble half-formed freaks they
Seem this red-eyed morning
Circles of beaten down ground
And discarded sweet wrappers
After the circus has left town.