Thursday, December 3, 2015

Between Angels and Elephants

Between angels and elephants,
sparrows atop the tent poles
and tigers on two-foot stools,

is the acrobat.
Not bird, nor magician,
she starts in sawdust,
but circuses have ladders.

Every act involves a first time
and a thousandth.
Smell the blood and popcorn;
believe it matters what you do--

the merest sparrow is one part angel;
women and tigers...two.

Exactly sixty words for Mama Zen's "Words Count."

Image: "Circus Girl Smokes While Rehearsing Her Stunts", Nina Leen 1949. 

The picture made me think of the film Wings Of Desire ("Der Himmel Uber Berlin") in which two angels wander post-war Berlin. One of them falls in love with a circus trapeze artist, and wishes to become mortal so that they can be together. Because of copyright restrictions, I can't post the trailer on the blog, and so I provide a link HERE. It will open in a new window, so you don't have to leave this page in order to view it.


Sioux said...

You and Mama Zen sucked me in. Congratulations.

hedgewitch said...

I am a strong believer that all the angels are inside ourselves, and this poem dangles the ideas of salvation and attachment, purpose and serendipity, like the pictured girl dangles from that wire, to amuse the masses, to show what she can do, to face the fear of falling and fly instead. Love this one, Shay.

Cloudia said...

a concise gem! You are rolling now...



Sherry Blue Sky said...

LOVE those closing lines!

Rommy said...

The words here are so stirring - I may have to check out that movie!

Buddah Moskowitz said...

You worked the circus too? Me too! Great, concise, colorful and self-congratulatory. In a word, perfect!

Mama Zen said...

I hardly know where to start. I adore the way you break the line between the first and second stanza. And, "believe it matters what you do." That just broke my heart.

Jennifer Wagner said...

"believe it matters what you do--

the merest sparrow is one part angel;
women and tigers...two."

Oh, I like that close!

angieinspired said...

Love the power of the woman and her link to tiger and blood and two parts angel sparrow. Very nice.

Helen said...

Your poem and the trailer mesh well ... awesome (as always.)

Margaret said...

I watched this years ago... will watch this again. beautiful and intriguing - a movie one doesn't forget - I gasped so many times watching this film. Your poem is gorgeous - the visual description in the beginning and the heat twisting end... love it all.

Susie Clevenger said...

Love this, especially the ending!!

Shadow said...

i've always wanted to join the circus and trapeez away...

Brendan MacOdrum said...

Deeee-lightful. I want to eat cotton candy and cheer. Poetry's best without a net.

brudberg said...

What a wonderful end... But to say something other... these lines spoke to me:

Every act involves a first time
and a thousandth.


Ella said...

Wow, Shay-the blood and popcorn really got me!
You gave us a show stopper~
I, too love these lines:

"Every act involves a first time
and a thousandth."

Take a bow, Shay

Shawna said...

I really like these sections:

"Not bird, nor magician,
she starts in sawdust"

"Every act involves a first time
and a thousandth."

"Smell the blood and popcorn"

Kerry O'Connor said...


Outlawyer said...

Hey Shay, you bring up both the danger and tedium--how they do it? How we do it? very cool. k.

grapeling said...

this is so good ~

Mimi Foxmorton said...

"Smell the blood and popcorn
Believe it matters what you do"