CIRCUS POEMS

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Life Is A Circus

A young lad blossoms from a petal,
Many challenges to come and yet to settle.
Here begins life's crazy circus,
To be happy but yet sometimes serious.
.....
Priyadarshini Goel

Priyadarshini Goel
Prothalamion

“little soul, little flirting,
little perverse one
where are you off to now?
little wan one, firm one
.....
Delmore Schwartz

Delmore Schwartz
Cloony The Clown

I'll tell you the story of Cloony the Clown
Who worked in a circus that came through town.
His shoes were too big and his hat was too small,
But he just wasn't, just wasn't funny at all.
.....
Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein
Tannhauser

To my mother. May, 1870.


The Landgrave Hermann held a gathering
.....
Emma Lazarus

Emma Lazarus
The Circus

I remember when I wrote The Circus
I was living in Paris, or rather we were living in Paris
Janice, Frank was alive, the Whitney Museum
Was still on 8th Street, or was it still something else?
.....

Kenneth Koch
Leaves From Australian Forests (12 Sonnets)

I
A Mountain Spring

Peace hath an altar there. The sounding feet
.....

Henry Kendall
Cirque D'hiver

Across the floor flits the mechanical toy,
fit for a king of several centuries back.
A little circus horse with real white hair.
His eyes are glossy black.
.....

Elizabeth Bishop
Extraits

The Man Closing Up,' from Night Light' (1967),

would make his bed,
If he could sleep on it.
.....

Donald Justice
Legends

CLOWNS DYINGFIVE circus clowns dying this year, morning newspapers told their lives, how each one horizontal in a last gesture of hands arranged by an undertaker, shook thousands into convulsions of laughter from behind rouge-red lips and powder-white face.

STEAMBOAT BILLWhen the boilers of the Robert E. Lee exploded, a steamboat winner of many races on the Mississippi went to the bottom of the river and never again saw the wharves of Natchez and New Orleans.
And a legend lives on that two gamblers were blown toward the sky and during their journey laid bets on which of the two would go higher and which would be first to set foot on the turf of the earth again.
.....
Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg
Chicks

THE CHICK in the egg picks at the shell, cracks open one oval world, and enters another oval world.

'Cheep... cheep... cheep' is the salutation of the newcomer, the emigrant, the casual at the gates of the new world.

.....
Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg
The Soldier Birds

I mind the river from Mount Frome
To Ballanshantieâ??s Bridge,
The Mudgee Hills, and Buckaroo,
Loweâ??s Peak, and Granite Ridge.
.....
Henry Lawson

Henry Lawson
A Ritual To Read To Each Other

If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.
.....

William Stafford
When Albani Sang

Was workin' away on de farm dere, wan
morning not long ago,
Feexin' de fence for winter--'cos dat's
w'ere we got de snow!
.....

William Henry Drummond
Little Snail

I saw a little snail
Come down the garden walk.
He wagged his head this way . . . that way . . .
Like a clown in a circus.
.....
Hilda Conkling

Hilda Conkling
The Big Top

The boom and blare of the big brass band is cheering to my heart
And I like the smell of the trampled grass and elephants and hay.
I take off my hat to the acrobat with his delicate, strong art,
And the motley mirth of the chalk-faced clown drives all my care away.
.....
Joyce Kilmer

Joyce Kilmer
Captain Craig Ii

Yet that ride had an end, as all rides have;
And the days coming after took the road
That all days take,-though never one of them
Went by but I got some good thought of it
.....
Edwin Arlington Robinson

Edwin Arlington Robinson
The Circus Animals' Desertion

I

I sought a theme and sought for it in vain,
I sought it daily for six weeks or so.
.....
William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats
The Circus Animal Desertion

I sought a theme and sought for it in vain,
I sought it daily for six weeks or so.
Maybe at last, being but a broken man,
I must be satisfied with my heart, although
.....
William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats
Splash

the illusion is that you are simply
reading this poem.
the reality is that this is
more than a
.....

Charles Bukowski
Nero-s Incendiary Song

Aweary unto death, my friends, a mood by wise abhorred,
Come to the novel feast I spread, thrice-consul, Nero, lord,
The Caesar, master of the world, and eke of harmony,
Who plays the harp of many strings, a chief of minstrelsy.
.....

Victor Marie Hugo
For An Earth-landing

the sky sinks its blue teeth
into the mountains.

Rising on pure will
.....

Erica Jong
The Oyster Schooner

W'at's all dem bell a ringin' for, a can
hear dem ev'ry w'ere?
W'at's bring de peop' togeder on de w'arf at
Trois Rivieres,
.....

William Henry Drummond
The Lion For Real

"Soyez muette pour moi, Idole contemplative..."


I came home and found a lion in my living room
.....

Allen Ginsberg
Who Santy-claus Wuz

Jes' a little bit o' feller--I remember still--
Ust to almost cry fer Christmas, like a youngster will.
Fourth o' July's nothin' to it!--New Year's ain't a smell!
Easter-Sunday--Circus-day--jes' all dead in the shell!
.....

James Whitcomb Riley
The Ravaged Face

Outlandish as a circus, the ravaged face
Parades the marketplace, lurid and stricken
By some unutterable chagrin,
Maudlin from leaky eye to swollen nose.
.....

Sylvia Plath
How A Princess Was Wooed From Habitual Sadness

In days of old the King of Saxe
Had singular opinions,
For with a weighty battle-axe
He brutalized his minions,
.....

Guy Wetmore Carryl
Denouement Villanelle

The telegram says you have gone away
And left our bankrupt circus on its own;
There is nothing more for me to say.

.....

Sylvia Plath
In Midas' Country

Meadows of gold dust. The silver
Currents of the Connecticut fan
And meander in bland pleatings under
River-verge farms where rye-heads whiten.
.....

Sylvia Plath
Bendy's Sermon

[Bendigo, the well-known Nottingham prize fighter, became converted to religion, and preached at revival meetings throughout the country.]

You didn't know of Bendigo! Well, that knocks me out!
Who's your board school teacher? What's he been about?
.....

Arthur Conan Doyle
Young Night-thought

All night long and every night,
When my mama puts out the light,
I see the people marching by,
As plain as day before my eye.
.....
Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson
The Call

(France, August first, 1914)

Far and near, high and clear,
Hark to the call of War!
.....

Robert William Service
Corporal Dick's Promotion - A Ballad Of '82

The Eastern day was well-nigh o'er
When, parched with thirst and travel sore,
Two of McPherson's flanking corps
Across the Desert were tramping.
.....

Arthur Conan Doyle
Some Scattering Remarks Of Bub's

Wunst I looked our pepper-box lid
An' cut little pie-dough biscuits, I did,
And cooked 'em on our stove one day
When our hired girl she said I may.
.....

James Whitcomb Riley
London Types - X. News-boy

Take any station, pavement, circus, corner,
Where men their styles of print may call or choose,
And there - ten times more on it than JACK HORNER -
There shall you find him swathed in sheets of news.
.....
William Ernest Henley

William Ernest Henley
Attila

What though his feet were shod with sharp, fierce flame,
And death and ruin were his daily squires,
The Scythian, helped by Heaven's thunders, came:
The time was ripe for God's avenging fires.
.....

Henry Kendall
Her Toys

I sat her in her baby chair,
And set upon its tray
Her kewpie doll and teddy bear,
But no, she would not play.
.....

Robert William Service
Heine In Paris

LATE: a cold smear of sunlight bathes the room;
The gilt lime of winter, a sun grown melancholy old,
Streams in the glass. Outside, ten thousand chimneys fume,
Looping the weather-birds with rings of gold;
.....

Kenneth Slessor
Imperante Augusto Natus Est--

What it was struck the terror into me?
This, Publius: closer! while we wait our turn
I'll tell you. Water's warm (they ring inside)
At the eighth hour, till when no use to bathe.
.....
Robert Browning

Robert Browning
London Types: News Boy

Take any station, pavement, circus, corner,
Where men their styles of print may call or choose,
And there-ten times more on it than Jack Horner-
There you shall find him swathed in sheets of news.
.....
William Ernest Henley

William Ernest Henley
Rome

Above the circus of the world she sat,
Beautiful and base, a harlot crowned with pride:
Fierce nations, upon whom she sneered and spat,
Shrieked at her feet and for her pastime died.
.....
Madison Julius Cawein

Madison Julius Cawein
Tomboy

There's a little girl I know
And we call her So-and-So.
She is neither good nor bad
Good enough for me although!
.....
Madison Julius Cawein

Madison Julius Cawein
When Dacey Rode The Mule

â??TWAS to a small, up-country town,
When we were boys at school,
There came a circus with a clown,
Likewise a bucking mule.
.....

Banjo Paterson
Marshal Neigh, V.c.

He came from tumbled country past the
humps of Buffalo
Where the snow sits on the mountain 'n' the
Summer aches below.
.....

Edward George Dyson
Election Day

Despots effete upon tottering thrones
Unsteadily poised upon dead men's bones,
Walk up! walk up! the circus is free,
And this wonderful spectacle you shall see:
.....

Ambrose Bierce
An Expostulation To Lord King

How can you, my Lord, thus delight to torment all
The Peers of realm about cheapening their corn,
When you know, if one hasn't a very high rental,
'Tis hardly worth while being very high born?
.....
Thomas Moore

Thomas Moore
The Land Of Candy

There was once a little boy -
So my father told me - who
Never cared for any toy,
But just sweet things, as boys do,
.....
Madison Julius Cawein

Madison Julius Cawein
We Are Accused Of Terrorism

We are accused of terrorism
If we dare to write about the remains of a homeland
That is scattered in pieces and in decay
In decadence and disarray
.....

Nizar Qabbani
Fleet Street

BENEATH this narrow jostling street,
Unruffled by the noise of feet,
Like a slow organ-note I hear
The pulses of the great world beat.
.....

Arthur Henry Adams
The Crusaders

What price yer humble, Dicko Smith,
in gaudy putties girt,
With sand-blight in his optics, and much
leaner than he started,
.....

Edward George Dyson
Nature's The Same As Rome, Was Reflected In It

Nature's the same as Rome, was reflected in it.
We see images of its civic might
In the clear air, as in the sky-blue circus,
In the forum of fields, the colonnade of the grove.
.....

Osip Emilevich Mandelstam