backed up//somewhere between earth & sky

her cherry smile spins threads
between the planets, arms and legs in
well synced moves,

up, up she climbs on two thick ropes,
spanned between tent sky &
sawdust at our feet, she

pivots galaxies in breathless
ease & this is when i see him–

watching in the dark,
tracing every single move, alert, face tense
with concentration,

counterweighing, moving
up and down the scaffold to allow her space
to fly– she swings &

glides down with an energetic spin,
wrapped in yellow spotlight as
applause crashs from a distant shore

& he slowly fades out of my sight


i went to the circus friday night and thought i’d share a bit of my impressions with you..she was marvelous but couldn’t have done it without him, adjusting the rope length so sensitively…linking up with dVerse OpenLinkNight where we’re celebrating poetry..come, write a poem and join us.. gates open at 3pm EST


86 responses to “backed up//somewhere between earth & sky

  1. Loved the images here, Claudia. Circus performers always scare me. They often make what they do seem easy, but it is soooooo dangerous.

  2. I adore the ‘cherry smile’, think this very subtle wordplay and love the way you have us feel though she’s the star he’s the final impression … Lovely

  3. I love the motion here, and then reading your note and seeing the circus, it all came together perfectly. But really like how you wrote it, where separate levels of meaning can be taken. Great job. Thanks

  4. my first thought was of one of those fliers that dance on the long scarves from the ceiling…and my second a marionette…the marionette thought added a bit of menace, but i think you rounded those edges well enough that he wants the best for her….

  5. Sounds like a prompter at drama class whose presence boosts confidence. Though in this case he doubles up apparently as a ‘safety guy’ too. Nice write Claudia!


  6. Wow caputered the scene well once more, like we were at the circus shore. And yeah scary what they do but I guess they do have a clue and know how it should be done, unlike us who if tried for fun, would be dead oh the dread.

  7. Really loved this. One of my favorites of yours (as I always say these days) and not actually sure of that, but I do love the idea of the trainer/co-hort/lover/supervisor/puppetmeister in the background – not altogether benign – but very interesting, and so interesting to catch him from the audience, or as you were, Claudia, on the other side of the rope. k.

  8. One of my very fondest memories was watching the trapezists at an early circus around 1964 or so. Oh how they would spin and twist, and in the end just let go and free fall to a large net, where it was just as amazing to watch them flip and spin off of it. That day I came to know that Women trapeze artists, in their sparkling, revealing costumes, are the most beautiful things on earth. The next year realization that changed to kindergarten teachers. And the next it changed to first grade teachers that happen to be nuns in habits……. At age 53 I can attest this has now changed 48 times through out the years…. And where have you taken me? Right back to the start…. Thank you! Lovely trip……

  9. Aren’t they talented too! She is the star but, as you very subtly point out, she is as good as his talent is too. He has to judge how tight or slack the ropes are according to her moves and so, they really work as a team. Very nice observations and lovely imagery.

  10. backed up//somewhere between earth & sky
    “her cherry smile spins threads
    between the planets, arms and legs in
    well synced moves…”

    Hi! Claudia…
    It appears that you observed, and then returned to share with your readers, your very beautiful [very] poetic words…Thank-you,
    deedee 🙂

  11. That first line, I loved it!

    “her cherry smile spins threads
    between the planets, arms and legs in
    well synced moves,”

    Marvellous. I haven’t been to the circus in ages, but I don’t care. I’ve been to it now, through your beautiful poem. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  12. Very nice, love the title. “pivots galaxies in breathless / ease & this is when i see him” – spectacular. I really want to take my kids to the circus this year.

  13. Joining the other ‘lovers-of-Claudia’ and her easy style. Lot od Peeps do not see what YOU see, but I did…and didn’t even have to buy a ticket!

    LOVE the last three lines, like the closing of a good book. But of course I want MORE!!!
    Love and PEACE, Claudia.

    Having visited Lynchburg, Virginia, I know you better…and like/love you better!

  14. This is a great poem, had my mind tangled with those first opening lines, but then I was up there with her. We saw a similar act recently, they call her the human kite! It was beautiful to watch 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  15. Much more positive than mine…when done properly a good acrobat suspends the laws of gravity, if but for tiniest fraction of a moment. poetry does that as well, thank you for sharing this.


  16. This is so graceful and beautiful, I think that you need to bow. 🙂 I love that you have taken us into space to show us their synchronized grace. I’m still adoring her smile. So very lovely.

  17. Lots of levels here, as always Claudia, but the high wire act is something we can all relate to, and the importance of that being in sync that is life support between two people, so easily turned into a power struggle that kills more than saves–but not here.

  18. “her cherry smile”


    “this is when i see him–

    watching in the dark,”

    I like these descriptive images of what is happening in the shining spotlight and what is lurking behind the scenes. Great capture!

  19. Hey Claudia

    i am hooked from the start

    her cherry smile spins threads
    between the planets

    Holy Moly – – – a star girl ?!

    its a Super Nova write . . .

    a true dance of heavenly proportions 😀

  20. So beautiful and telling, love the humanity hidden just out of sight. We don’t always see those that do the most for us…

  21. what an arresting visual you managed to capture here….very very good claudia…

    been going to the delhi art fest . and shooting like mad….wanting to capture what i feel when i watch them perform instead of what i see…..and you did that with your words….
    must share some pictures with you of the performances….esp of a ballet i watched the other night.. ….i wonder how you would match words to them….

  22. Hooked by that incredible first line…this piece had me as breathless as a child, watching your words fly through its circus dance. Love it!

  23. Aww so beautiful, Reminds me of my childhood days when I would visit Circus. The performers could do dangerous things like silk swaying in the air so smooth and with ease..
    Thanks for sharing.

  24. i love the way you weave colors into your poetry. the cherry smile, the dark, wrapped in yellow spotlight, fades out of sight. it is very like a painting.

  25. What strikes me most is how you have conveyed the extreme tension and interrelation between the two actors in the circus drama – impossible not to see that picture, but to also think of how we work in pairs in our lives and have to constantly re-adjust to mainatain stellar dynamics.

    Really enjoyed this one Claudia 🙂

  26. Claudia, a wonderful scene you have created here from your memory of the circus. I felt as if I were there every step of the way. I love the opening and all that follows. I haven’t been round much to read others on a casual basis. I am trying to stay away from using the computer too much. I see I have missed some of your gems.


  27. I really love your “shares” *smile* the tension that you wove into it–the counterbalance and mystery, a wonderful piece! Read through several times just to enjoy the flow and feel of it.

  28. Behind every woman (that’s lucky) is a man paying attention and adjusting to help her succeed. And someone else to notice and tell the story so we all get a glimpse. Thanks.

  29. My first thought…Dumbo…a movie that tore apart my child heart and just about any reference to circus makes me remember. A wonderful invitation to the experience…right down to the sawdust…