image from cinemasterpieces.com
Cirque du Vitam et Mortem
“Time is a circus, always packing up
and moving away.”--Ben Hecht.
Who can ever forget
their first visit to the circus?
Mine was in 1952,
in the Big Top,
set up in a farmer’s field
outside of Seattle--
Ringling Bros--Barnum & Bailey.
tall vendors in red striped pants
selling peanuts, cotton candy & popcorn,
the distinct oder of exotic manure--
elephants, horses, lions & tigers.
There were three big rings,
about 50 feet in diameter
circus is from the Latin for circle.
We sat by the middle one,
so that we could see the ringmaster.
There was a thrilling opening parade,
complete with marching band & clown cars.
Lion & tiger trainers
and the trapeze/high wire acts
were my favorites, amidst
a cacophony of brass instruments,
crowd clatter, lion roars, & elephant trumpeting.
Huge colorful balloons were tethered to everything.
Being an inquisitive eight-year old,
I wanted to know the history of the circus.
My Mom told me it was a tradition
that started in England in 1770,
and that most of the high wire/trapeze acts
that we had just seen were
recruited in Europe.
“The clowns too?” I asked.
“No, dear, they have their own school in Florida.”
“Can I go to clown school?”
“You don’t have to,” she said,
“You’re a natural clown already.”
She may have been right,
but when she died at 39,
the copious tears of a clown
flooded the neighborhood.
Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub