Lay for the Day 14th
Blondin, the great funambulist, took another of his journeys across Niagara
Falls this time with his manager, Henry Colcord, on his back! He
had made the first tightrope crossing of the falls on 30th June, and repeated
the feat several times, with brilliant dramatic flourishes added, like
wheeling a wheelbarrow across, or stopping in the middle to cook and eat
an omelette. As this last gimmick suggests, Blondin was a Frenchman, born
Jean-François Gravelet. He died in England in 1897, six days short
of his 73rd birthday, having given his last performance in Belfast the
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 youd forgotten
still blows outside, and bulge slightly?
Its your breath withheld
narrowed eyebeams fixed that support me:
Id 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.
Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar