Thursday, October 2, 2008
Poems Take Time
I wrote the first version
of the poem Soggy Circus
back in 1996. It was inspired
by the song Fixing a Hole by the Beatles,
which for some reason created
a picture in my mind of a circus
carrying on after a deluge of pineapple soda.
I wanted the poem to be about making the best
of a bad situation, and I liked that idea, but knew
that the poem wasn't there yet. I tinkered with Soggy Circus
from time to time over the next nine years until finally
I felt it was finished, and was happy to include it in Flamingos on the Roof.
The image of the strongman playing with an origami canoe
is one of my favorites from all my books,
and didn't change much from the original sketch.
The final version is as follows:
The circus was flooded.
It happened so suddenly.
What would they do?
The ringmaster shouted
“It’s part of the act!”
Some of the spectators
started to boo.
A clown got some laughs
with his kicking and splashing.
The audience followed his cue.
The strongman just played
with a toy that he made–
A green origami canoe.