June 28, 2018

Poetry Friday--Ekphrasis at the Circus

I know the circus has gotten a bad rap over the last few decades, and deservedly so, if stories of animal abuse are to believed. However, the circus meant a lot to the people of the early 20th century when it provided an escape from everyday life through the promise of spectacular entertainment and exoticism. The circus was dreams and memories, and for that reason, I continue to be fascinated by it.

Today I have more ekphrastic cherita. These have been inspired by paintings with a circus theme. I'll start with a repeat appearance of a cherita I posted during Ekphrastic April.


"Two Children in Front of a Billboard for Grand Cirque" (circa 1930) by Marianne von Werefkin [1860-1938].

not enough saved...

the circus poster
seduces them again

automatically
her hand slips into her pocket
to check one more time


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Two new ones:


"Adelaide Yelving in the Circus Ring" (date unknown) by Thérèse Lessore [1884-1945].

behind the illusion

the angel balances
smiling, wings waving

no other joins her
to dance--a rubber ball
is no head of a pin


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.


"The Elephant" (1922) by Alice Bailly [1872-1938].

after the circus

downing two aspirin
she heads to bed

she loves color excitement
animals music as long as
she's not in the middle of it


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

We're moving into peak vacation season, but before you go, visit Carol's Corner for the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

19 comments:

  1. I remember a 'tent' circus coming to my tiny town when I was growing up, magical to me. Each one of these shows a different look, Diane, and I love the poignancy of that first one.

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  2. Dear Diane, I came to visit your blog this morning at 7:30...it is now 9:00. Reading your poetry, and especially the poems in "Childhood: Poems Inspired by the Photographs of Lewis Wickes Hine" have given me a wonderful start to my day. I'm intrigued by your Ekphrastic Cherita poems and am excited to try this beautiful form of poetry.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Leslie! I hope you'll also visit Kids of the Homefront Army. One of the poems in that collection I read at Highlights last October.

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  3. Diane, I always learn so much form your posts. I have been reading various cheritas and wanted to try one out so I spent considerable time trying my first one for PF. I really like your first cherita and wonder if you would like to send that on to me for my summer gallery while I am trying to finish the design of the spring gallery.

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    1. Sure, I'll send it along to you, Carol.

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  4. I love how all of your circus poems show the reality behind the spectacle. Nice job!

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    1. Sometimes the story behind the story is the most interesting.

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  5. Your combination of image and words is always so perfect. I love how you manage to convey such big stories in so few words. Thank you!

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  6. I am in love with "The Greatest Showman" movie and music! The circus has always fascinated me. These images are wonderful to write to. The stories inside them so big and yet you capture them in cherita. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I haven't seen that movie yet! Thanks for reminding me to look for it at the library.

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  7. I love these slices of the circus experience, Diane. The last one, spoke to my feelings about the circus as a child - every adult relative seemed to feel that this was the thing I needed to see, and yet the circus always left me uneasy, unhappy...and with a headache.

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    1. It could be that you were also allergic to the hay! That was a problem for me.

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  8. I love all of these! I used to want to join the circus (still do, some days). I threatened to run away from home and go to CLown College in Florida, but never quite got the nerve to pull if off though I do still have my clown costume! In my later years, I learned the circus hires a teacher for the children. That I could do!

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    1. I never thought about how life in the circus still must contain some "normal" elements--like school!

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  9. These are wonderful, Diane! - Jet

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  10. The art you used is wonderful (I'm looking up Alice Bailly after this). It's easy to see why it inspires you. You pull out different points-of-view brilliantly. I love your first cherita in particular.

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  11. Love the art images that you built your ekphrastic poems from Diane. Your first poem works so well with the image of longing, thanks!

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