Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"The Greatest Show on Earth"

This week's Carry On Tuesday prompt is a quotation from Martin H. Fischer: "Life is a ticket to the greatest show on earth." Almost immediately I received an image of a father rushing under a banner or sign, holding a daughter by each hand. I twisted it around (as poems should be) and am still working with it. It's a work in progress, but I wanted to post what I have done while I have time.

"The Greatest Show on Earth"
His hands gripped theirs too tightly
as they passed the flashing words:
"The Greatest Show on Earth."
In a weak attempt to escape
his still-radiating fury,
the older girl cringed from his side.

as they were preparing to go--
his whiplike fist,
her mother's muffled cry,
her low sobbing.
Ungently grasping small hands,
he hurried them to the weather-beaten car.

The long-anticipated day
now marred with fear:
of his lightning anger
of bruises now purpling their mother's face.
Home alone, the woman has time --
to regather shreds of herself,
to regain hard-won calm,
to put on the old show
belied by violet eye.

Little girl fixes tear-welling eyes
on the cavalcade before her:
sparkly costumes on beautiful ladies,
brave feats of derring-do,
huge-footed clowns, smiling faces painted on,
monkeys --
all shapes blurring strangely
as she tries to forget.

Her younger sister claps hands,
unaware of barely-masked pain--
of a family cracking apart with
each professional smile,
each dangerous feat performed,
each graceful bow taken--
dancing, twirling, leaping, spinning
out of control....
Copyright 2010 by Susanne Barrett.

1 comment:

sarah said...

some powerful thoughts there!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin