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Lay for the Day
28th February

Jean François Gravelot was born in St Omer in the Pas de Calais, northern France, on this day in 1824. As the Great Blondin he would amaze the world with his feats of funambulism. He first walked across Niagara Falls on a high wire on 30th June 1859, and made several more crossings that summer, including one on 14th August with his manager, Harry Colcord, on his back.

From The Entertainers, one of the Inkjet Books.


High Wire

A spangled crucifix,
I inch across the tautened cavern
pitched in the pit of your stomach.

Did you see the canvas
waver from the wind you’d forgotten
still blows outside, and bulge slightly?

It’s your breath withheld and
narrowed eyebeams fixed that support me:
I’d tumble like down if you sighed.

My feet curl and dimple
around the rope, and the tense drums hush.
I feel forward on your raised hopes.


John Gibbens

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar

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