Without Paula

Stephen Livesey Ashworth

The daredevil artist on the high trapeze
Dances on air and laughs at gravity:
His outstretched hand finds his partner’s grip –
Next time his somersault will surely miss
And lay him prostrate with a broken back.

The prancing fencer whips his naked foil,
Pricks his opponent, draws the crowd’s applause,
His thrust and parry boasting of his art –
But soon will his passado flaccid fall,
Another’s blade will cut him to the heart.

The couple blaze their love to all the street:
It makes me angry when I see them kiss –
His joy will end in anguish, hers in hate:
How dare that pair pretend that love is bliss?