Flying and Falling

Three distinct rings–                          love, hope, faith

we watch, suspend our fears               in the future

as clowns cavort and lions roar.         will it be enough

Some walk a tightrope                        as the world tilts and whirls

waiting for applause,                           we want joy and laughter

but some hang in mid-air                    hoping there’s a safety net

still waiting to be caught                     knowing we may plummet



Edgar Degas, “Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sarah is hosting dVerse tonight, and she has asked us to write a poem about the circus. I am not really a circus fan, but to make up for that, I wrote this cleave poem, which is three poems in one. And then I found this Degas painting.







59 thoughts on “Flying and Falling

  1. WOW! Just wow! I have a lifelong love of the circus (except the mistreatment of animals part), and also a love of poetry… That said, I never heard of a cleave poem, and looked it up after reading this bit of magnificence! WOW! You definitely nailed the challenge! ❤

  2. Funny thing, as a child I was always kind of afraid of the circus. I don’t know if it was the clowns or my own fear of heights and watching the performances, but I never enjoyed it. That said, the message in your beautiful poem seemed to put me at ease, Merril. 🙂

  3. Oh, the fear of falling with everything crashing down is palpable, but so is the “three distinct rings” of love, hope, and faith. May it end with an applause or the safety net in case we fall.
    It makes for a positive and hopeful reading either way.

  4. This is great, any way I read it. Thinking much of what’s spit out at us might merit some “cleaveage” … posturing the spoken alongside probable under script … seems a useful tool … apply to any of the daily spouts from our so-called leaders. Writing has a way of clarifying, and your cleave approach entices and inspires. Better writing than dangling from a dome …

  5. A cleave poem is a bit of a juggling act and you’ve kept all the balls in the air with this one, Merril! The phase ‘as the world tilts and whirls’ made me quite dizzy.

  6. i have never read this type of poetry format, but it reads so fluently, in a few different directions, suspend our fears – wow that was a powerful statement, I suppose we can when we are confident we have safety nets below us.

  7. So very well done….three poems in one. Read the left side down alone. Read the right side down alone. Then read left to right, left to right, left to right down the page. Very very well done!

  8. I’m always so impressed by this form, and by those who brave them! It was such a good idea to start it the way you did, and then to carry the metaphor throughout of ways to go about living, on the edge like a daredevil. Well done. Standing ovation!

  9. A cleave poem seems like the most difficult of all the different structures I’ve seen you use. And you did it magnificently, like a tightrope dancer. (But, like you, there’s something about the circus that just doesn’t feel right to me – not my thing, I guess.)

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