So Ringling Bros. Circus is closing down after 146 years.What will happen to these highly-specialized performers, geniuses of a dying art form? The history nerd in me hates this, and the kid in me hates this even more. A little slice of childhood wonder, gone. I feel like my parents just told me I’m too old to go trick-or-treating.
How do you describe your feelings when the fair or circus leaves town? It’s the burst of cotton candy on your tongue-spun sugar, spun stories, spun magic-that vanishes before you even have the chance to chew. And you are left with a hollow ache in your belly and sweetness on your blue and pink tongue.
Maybe the best way to describe my feelings is through two poems I previously wrote on the subject:
By Барвенковский (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
THE FAIR FOLK
A big top springs up in the glade o’ernight:
A mushroom cap of red, orange, green, blue, brown.
And in its shade, the Fairy Folk alight,
Enchant the town.
There brightly colored pixies frolic ‘round.
They’re clowns. They’re gymnasts, wingless, yet in flight.
The Fair Folk cast their spell as sun goes down.
Now gone the gypsy dance and pagan rite,
Now just three fairy rings upon the ground.
Mementos of one cotton candy night
Enchant the town.
Georges Seurat [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
When the carnival left
the fairgrounds bore
the alien imprint
of crop circles in the grass.
left the round ghost
of the landing site
of a flying saucer.
Where are the inhabitants
of this fleeting world
that still smells of deep-fried adrenaline?
Where the monuments they erected
of metal bars and canvas?
What means their last message:
the trampled echo of calliope music?
They flew away
through colorful stars
Ferris wheel galaxies
and left behind the litter of
a space, a time.