Thursday, January 11, 2007

Super Woman's Circus Dream ... for Poetry Thursday

Elephant Dream, © Joan Z. Rough, 1991


Here is my contribution to this weeks Poetry Thursday:

Super Woman’s Circus Dream

For the Bally Broad in every woman

She fills the spotlight
Ostrich feathers fishnet stockings
Blue satin skin bursting with flesh
Her glass encrusted crown
Spins rainbows in the dark

Every night
She straddles an elephant
Rocks back and forth on seas
Of exploding cheers
Shimmies up a moon beam
And balanced on a thread of gold
Juggles flaming swords


Note: According to Joe McKennon, author of Horse Dung Trail: Saga of American Circus, a Bally Broad denotes a woman or girl who sang and danced in the circus and may also have performed in aerial acts, ridden horses, posed on the backs of elephants and “generally made herself useful.” The name probably came from the use of genuine ballet dancers in some circuses from 1880 to 1910.

Both the photo and poem are part of my series, Arena of Dreams, an exhibition I put together after helping my husband and his partner, La Vahn Hoh, photograph circuses for their book, Step Right Up! The Adventure of Circus in America, now out of print.


jzr

5 comments:

Rethabile said...

Cheers. Thanks for sharing and instructing.

paris parfait said...

Absolutely brilliant poem! I like the phrases "...rocks back and forth on seas of exploding cheers, shimmies up a moonbeam and balanced on a thread of gold juggles flaming swords." Really great work!

Regina Clare Jane said...

That is quite a picture! And your poem is wonderful- I always wanted to shimmy up a moonbeam!

Visual-Voice said...

Interesting! One of my photo professors in college did a series on circus people too... David Brenaman was his name. I love the poem!

Gina D said...

Circuses that include animals such as elephants standing on their heads should be obsolete by now. It's inhumane. I think promoting the circus is promoting animal abuse. So sad. This picture is disturbing to me. Unfortunately, I ran across it looking for a ballet photo. Sad.