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Peris is Livery: libérez l'abat-jour
An atomic sprite
perched on a polished
monster-stallion
reigns over Ringling's revolving
trinity of circus attractions
 
Something the contour
of a captured crab
waving its useless pearly claws
 
From a squat body
pigmy arms
and bowlegs
with their baroque calves
curve in a bi-circular attitude
to a ballerina's ecstasy
 
An effigy of Christmas Eves
smile-cast among chrysanthemum curls
it seems a sugar angel --
while from a rose-flecked ruff of gauze
its manly legs
stamp on the vast rump of the horse
 
An irridescent speck
dripped from a rainbow
onto an ebony cloud
 
Crab-Angel I christen you
miniken of masquerade sex
 
Helen of Lilliput?
Hercules in a powder puff?

Song

"Had you been born
in regions of the Unicorn
To balance on his ivory horn
perhaps"
"Per Bacco! 'Tis an idiot dwarf
hooked to a wire to make him jump"
 
Automaton bareback rider
the circus-master
jerks
your invisible pendulence
from an overhead pulley
to your illusory
leaps in up-a-loft
 
signs
the horse
racing the orchestra
in rushing show
throw
his whimsy wire-hung dominator
 
to dart
through circus skies of arc-lit dust
Crab-Angel like a swimming star
 
clutching the tail end of the Chimera
An aerial acrobat
floats on the coiling lightning
of the whirligig
 
lifts
to the elated symmetry of Flight
 
A startled rose
whirls in the chaos of the hoofs
 
The jeering jangling
jazz
crashes to silence
 
The dwarf
subsides like an ironic sigh
to the soft earth
and ploughs
his bowlegged way
laboriously towards the exit
waving a yellow farewell with his perruque



~Mina Loy