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Days after we had travelled east of Eden

we invented clowning and slapstick,

juggling and tumbling, magic and music,

and idleness to ease our banishment

from Paradise. So, for ninety minutes,

in this rare and aerial space of changelings

and kaleidoscopes, we watch acrobats

and clowns, conjurors and knife throwers turn back

the epochs as if pages in a book.


Like a sudden rush of snare drums, a brief

and heavy shower accompanies

the finale – but we emerge from the big top

into that special freshness after rain.

The church bell is tolling for evensong.

As if there were no sin, house martins

swerve and bank and twitter.






© Copyright David Selzer
2 Responses
  • Clive Watkins
    August 28, 2020

    An attractively oblique myth-poem, David. I like the way the simile of the snare drums connects the real world of the circus tent (with its theatrical goings-on) and the real world outside the big top, marked now by ‘that special freshness after rain’. The house-martins’ agile and, it may be, acrobatic flight and their shrill twittering seem to deny what the opening clause of the last sentence nonetheless asserts – that there is indeed sin in the world. And so we are back at the start of the poem: the invention of ‘clowning and slapstick’ in the days following Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Eden.

  • John Huddart
    September 1, 2020

    As usual, an inspiring collection. How you make all our hearts beat stronger! Your collection of comments this month says it all. We are drunk on your outpourings.

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