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The Ringmaster

David Lewis Paget

There were tigers, bears and elephants,
The day that the circus came,
And dwarves and clowns in our tiny town
It never would be the same.
The people stared as it passed on by
It was like a grand parade,
If only we’d known what was going down,
It was time to be afraid.

The tent went up in the open field
Behind old Barney’s store,
And lines of booths for the local youths
At a penny or so a draw,
While lines of coloured bulbs lit up
Where the fairground rides were set,
And musical hurdy-gurdies sounded
Just like a passing jet.

Then girls in flimsy bikinis flew
Up and under the top,
A giant net underneath them, yet
In case that one might drop.
The Ringmaster with his hat and whip
And his giant, curled moustache,
Kept all of the bareback riders straight
In line, and under his lash.

The elephants were herded in
And stood on their great hind legs,
Trumpeting sighs, and rolling their eyes,
Just like a dog that begs.
The clowns raced in and disrupted all
Clambering over the seats,
And roused the crowd, that laughed out loud
At all their ridiculous feats.

At ten, the tent had begun to whirl
And the audience went still,
As hounds had bounded in and around,
The Hounds of the Baskervilles.
A massive bell had begun to chime
The Ringmaster’s coat turned black,
He grew in size right before their eyes
And some had a heart attack.

He grew two horns on top of his head
That made him look like a goat,
And then a shimmering tail of dread
Slid out, from under his coat.
‘You pays yer money and takes yer choice,’
His voice boomed out in a bit,
The prayers prayed and the screamers screamed
As the floor sank into a pit.

The first three rows fell into the pit,
The rest of us stood and cowered,
While he just floated and cracked his whip
Over his pit of power.
And flames shot up from the pit below
To the chime of the Black Mass Bell,
We knew we stood at that terrible hour
By the Seventh Circle of Hell.

Our lips were sealed, and I risk my soul
And any future of grace,
By telling you all just what went down
In this, now devilish place.
You’ll see the field behind Barney’s store
Lies burnt, still black with their blood,
Where once the Devil’s own circus came
And set up in our neighbourhood.

David Lewis Paget

© 2017, David Lewis Paget. All rights reserved.

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