Declination of the Circus

Big Apple Circus 7-1-2008


The spotlights shattered the darkness inside Madison Square Garden. The center ring bathed in sudden light illuminated the cacaphony of clowns, trapize artists, animals and all of the fascination that Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus could offer a child in the late seventies. I marveled at every act, spellbound by spectacle.


Autumn sky

the fading light of

my glow stick


Another circus–this time under a tent! But a sideshow brought us face to face with the animals behind cages. I spotted the elephants. Including the one manacled and chained to a stake.


Spring breeze

the stench of something

I can’t make out


It’s years before I return to any circus. The traveling Big Apple Circus arrives at the Palisades Center commuter lot. Mira and I take Frankie, five years old, to see the one ring circus. Mira is no fan of circuses–it was never a Portugese thing. Frankie enjoys the spectacle to a point–but not to the same degree I did.


Summer haze

the popcorn that somehow

won’t satisfy


I brought Mira and Frankie to the Prudential Center in Newark to catch Ringling Brother and Barnum and Bailey Circus. Frankie was older, although how much so I can’t remember. The Elephants did no tricks, as this was the last tour in which the circus would use animals. The clowns entertained, but did not wow. The gymnastic routines on the high wire, not to mention the trapeze acts, paled before a Cirque Du Solei. We left unsatisfied. Everything, it seems, has its seasons. Even circuses.


Winter chill

the all-to-polite applause

at the show’s end



for dVerse Poets Pub Come to the Circus! (pubtended by Sarah)






Categories: haikai, haiku community

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30 replies »

    • I lean toward the latter. Children today have access to so many forms of entertainment, against which circuses can’t compete. The inhumane treatment of animals by many circuses has now stigmatized them all. Seems the circus is going the way of vaudeville.


  1. So very well done….your three visits and the waning pleasure. I have always hated the circus….would never take my children and even with the Big Apple, which is supposed to be a very “tame” circus, here in Boston – I would not go nor would I take my grandchildren. Phobia? Fear? Whatever……I like reading about it in all the posts…but still, would never go.

    Liked by 1 person

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