Tuesday, September 15, 2009

At the Bar

First position comes naturally,
the body equipoised, tranquil.
The expression is one of unrelenting
surprise, eye fixed and gawking.
The corner of the mouth turned down
in disappointment, disapproval?
How can your world always fail
to live up to expectation?

Second position advances the thigh,
the knee bending backwards, ankle
extending each flexed toe tip.
Often the leg is held with a gesture
of suspense before with effortless
elegance, the foot is planted.
The body glides and the cocked
eye sweeps the matted earth.

Third and fourth positions are
accomplished in a swift lunge, the
body following the stabbing head.
Here, pursuing a hapless insect,
motion verges on an abrupt jeté.
Comb and wattles flutter red
warning as the beak snaps shut.
The glazed eye winks satisfaction.

Fifth and sixth positions are lost
in the straw, grand plié, the feathered
rump descends, neck ruffles raised.
Cruel beak in a gape, eye staring,
a primeval chatter wells up through
the lipless mouth, shriller and more
raucous, shaking the roost, until
a great calm – and an egg!

Simon Peter Iredale