The Time of Rings


That day the circus came to town
her sweetheart had to leave for war.
The wagons rolled past bands of clowns,
the sun shone bright on beasts; his sword

took her best place there by his side.
That day the circus came to town,
they smiled and cried, they said goodbye,
the train wrapped them in steamy clouds.

Four years of gloom, the rain poured down
she closed her eyes and saw his smile
that day the circus came to town.
His letters now make life worthwhile.

Another band, a new parade
A peace declared, he’s homeward bound.
His eyes are wrapped, he has an aide–
all changed, since circus came to town.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * All Rights Reserved * 12/6/2012

45 thoughts on “The Time of Rings

  1. great work on the contrast..him having to leave for war the day the circus came to town..and then coming back and never being the same again…tough emotions in this..and wonderful work on the form gay…really looking forward to FFA tonight..

  2. Pingback: A Found Quatern: Christmas Jubilee | Bird's-Eye Gemini

  3. it is so nice when they come home isnt it….pretty cool the use of the circus and the war machine….the parade passed the clowns…interesting twist that, reversing what it would have been with a true cicus parade….ugh on the wounded soldier in the end as well…

  4. Powerfully narrated so that the circus could be the cause as in :Something Wicked this Way comes. The randomness made me swallow hard. And then the parade keeps on making the music without bowing in acknowledgement.

    • Oddly that was my inspiration. Thanks Susan for picking up on that. Yes, I wanted that random, anything can happen quality to inhabit this piece. It’s not a real life story, but more a set of contrasts exploring concepts. Thank you again!

  5. Gay, so well written. So poignant. Makes me sad for all this can apply to. The quatern form worked very well to convey this strong message. When will the world ever learn? I enjoyed this form, this prompt. Thank you.

  6. So this is how it is done. If I would have read this first I may not have even attempted it. This is brilliant. The circus stays the same, the soldier, not so much. A very clever, tender tale told with your poem. And thank you for your work here and challenging us with new points of view and forms. You are inspiring.

  7. How moving, Gay. And the contrast between the circus coming to town (so ordinary life) to leaving for war and the life changes that can bring…took me to many emotions…the ending brought it all home, so to speak.

  8. Wow, so much in there and wrapped in a simple event we all know.
    And complex emotions: praise, sympathy, condemnation, sorry — all juggled in a circus
    Superbly done. New images for my mind. Thank you.

  9. ..ah, a very sad Quatern indeed… the contrast between the coming of a happy event in town and the sadness of leaving to war plays very effective and essential in your poem… in the first read this gives an impact similar to the Japanese’s Classics but then after several reads i’ve found this more like in the classic English setting in a more contemporary form.. so easy to fall in love in poems like this… i think i will have to reserve this for future readings… thank you for a timeless offering… thank you too for reading my effort at Quaterns… i really enjoyed doing this form though i know that i need more and more practice to do it right… hihi… i will keep your words for future innovations.. smiles…

  10. Gay, your topic takes well to this form, though I think you could whip about any topic into this form quite brilliantly. It seems to come naturally for you. I love how you weave the eyes through each stanza in this one. A wonderful read.

    • How perceptive of you. I wasn’t even aware of that “eyes” thing. Thank you Jane. I still don’t think this was as well realized (although more true to form inasmuch as it’s in tetrameter) as the Left In Coole one I wrote in pentameter. I liked Karin’s in pentameter as well. The longer line length lends itself better to topics with more gravitas, I think, or perhaps using syllabic count does as well in the 8 syllable line.

  11. Ooh, this was tragic. It had this sense of a history, of the truth of something small affected by the large. I liked the interlinking of the stanzas, fleshing out the story being told here. It adds a stronger flow toward that poignant ending.

  12. touching and lovely. war definitely has a way of changing people (on both sides). I never would hav thought it possible to make a circus sound sad…

  13. Very nice, Gay, as in a ballad…I’m I allowed to use that description here? The rhyme and words work wonderfully together, plus add the circus scenario = something so taut and special;)

    • Yes – I think this can be very ballad-like especially when rhymed axax or abab…
      It can be like a set of couplets too. But ballads lend themselves so well to storytelling. Thanks for coming by and for your comment.

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