“Ode to a Juggler” by Michael O’Siadhail

by Kim on August 21, 2011

Such a style! The incredible untroubled
Faraway look of twice-doubled
Concentration: one, two, three, four.

One ball caught by the crook of the neck,
She steadies a little to countercheck
The rhythm, tosses it back into orbit.

Five. There’s a long career ahead;
A genius called Rastelli once fed
The air with ten at a time. But there

Among the primroses, in on the grass,
This juggler entertains us as we pass
On more urgent business. Short-cutting

Through the park most must adhere
To the narrow path of errand; for a mere
Moment we stop and watch, wonder if

Her playfulness mocks our humdrum worth.
The balls roll in mesmeric mirth,
jokes told with flawless timing,

Or are they stars held in motion,
Not by gravity but by devotion
To a great god of fun? Seemingly

Unaware of our admiration, she ethralls.
The endless edgless tennis balls
Move in the abandon of her serenity.

Michael O’Siadhail, Hail! Madam Jazz (Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books, 1992), pp. 61-62.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }


D.S. Martin 08.23.11 at 3:28 pm

Hi Richard:

Thanks for sharing this. You’ve chosen well. I appreciate this poem more than any of Micheal O’Siadhail’s I’ve yet encountered. I’m a Canadian poet, who blogs about Christian poetry at: http://www.kingdompoets.blogspot.com


Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>