Friday, September 08, 2006


The Carnival Comes

The trucks have rumbled down the road.
At night they rested in the new spot.
Sodden thirsts have woken up early
to assemble machines before the dawn.
Speakers have been set up for there will be music.
Soon there will be food and noise and light –
bells and calliopes, hot dogs in paper
and lights strung in a row,
mirrors, mirrors, lots of mirrors
(for we must see ourselves as happy, amused).

Looking in the glass we see that
there are two of everything except us,
how disconcerting.
But there is little time for rumination
for we must buy this illusion,
we must purchase it from pipes and painted steel.
Smells rival one another, last nights rain, the fragrance of moist earth,
pop corn, pickle relish, mustard,
oil and iron, hot incandescent lights.
And always we pass the mirror to peek inside, and wonder,
watch them turning at the heart of the carrousel.

The music stops, people exit and the ride fills again.
Another tune starts, the carrousel spins,
the mirror scans for strange new views
in this place of Cartesian Duality.
It circles and circles –
we ride the painted ponies to where we started
(somehow we always end up there).
Children giggle, mothers smile, lovers embrace, wind caresses,
lights sparkle, in the mirror you see the world spinning behind you.
Eagerly we get in line again.

So much noise – the crack of rifles ringing bells,
music, loudspeaker voices with their Doppler second selves,
whirring motors, the wail of wind singing
its last song in airplane wings,
the calliope (associated with poetry, for we dream tonight)
and, behind it all, the mirror turns
showing a world that we know is silent –
cacophony and crystal.
Turning, turning, everything spins,
we are dervishes in the moonlight,
separated by having spun together,
each with our own ears and lips and heartbeats.

I search for yours – lips moist and warm –
I learn rhythm, friction and not to fear entropy.
But somehow I have lost you.
I see us in the mirror, wandering away.
I look back, we have turned away from the light.
We are another couple I recognize,
who have sated themselves on cotton candy and illusion;
we are fat and starving.

The lights go out – one last look in the mirror
on a world now of shadow. In the profound silence
a cricket sings to solve a lonely puzzle.

Thanks to all the wonderful poets who graciously contributed their works to this RotB XII, you are friends and fellow strugglers against the loneliness of words. Please enjoy all the fantastic writing they have done. It should be a great, leisurely oddessey to touch their minds and souls. It has certainly been my honor and pleasure to have been touched by them!


csperez said...

this is really cool! did i miss the deadline? if so, :(

could you tell me more about ROTB?

Plus Ultra said...


rch said...

Hi Russell, this is an excellent poem in itself, and I can't wait to read all the entries. Thank you for your time and energy, outstanding!


Crunchy Weta said...

Hija Russell,An outstanding work. Like CSP I seem to have missed the deadline. Ah well there is always next time :-) Now it's off to read the poets.
Take care
PS Your class photos seem just so similar to the ones I used to teach. And love that you let the students use the board. I'm sure you are a popular teacher!

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi CSP! Yup, you missed it/were missed. This is the twelth weekly installment of the current poetry carnival that was started almost a year ago but abruptly died. This revival, ROTB, has guest hosts (I'm just one of them) who volunteer to host from their own blogs and send out visitors, via links, to the sites of the poets who have submitted poems. There are no rules ("more like guidelines, really") and each host posts the new carnival on Saturday and lets it run for a week. There was a place on poetry 101 where you could sign up to host but I can't find it anymore. That could mean that the current cycle will end soon as nobody (or not enough people) will know how to sign up to continue to do them. Oh well!

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks plus ultra! You should consider hosting one of these!

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks Bob! Now I understand all the work you went through to do your RotB. Some fine poems were submitted (15 participants) so it will take some time to read them all. Enjoy!

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks Glenn, for the kind words! Yes, you are too late for this one. I waited as long as I could and put it together with what got submitted. Fortunately, there were quite a few rather nice poems submitted.

Yes, I use a partial tutorial structure to my classes often and the students are put in groups which must make presentations, hence they use the board. The students seem to enjoy the classes that way and, most importantly, they learn a lot too.

Sue hardy-Dawson said...

Brilliant how you strung this all together-thank-you Russel

Rappaccini's Daughter said...

Oh Mastera what a sublime tapestry you've woven from the themes of these poems.

Bravo! And thank you.

katy said...

thank you for including me in this spectacular ringing. the poem format for the ringing is definatly my favorite way of presenting and the poem you wrote to include everyone is remarkable, russell.
thank you for hosting the ringing and, again, for including me!

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks Sue! Thanks for the kind words. I'm so glad you joined in this. I am honored by the brilliant poem you submitted.

By the way, the link to the RotB site is the RotB badge at the beginning of this post. I found it again (silly me). Check it out!!!!

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks RD! The truely sublime tapestistry is made up of the of the wonderful submissions. The glory is there; these humble weavings cannot hope to be more than a pale shadow (now Plato)of that orriginal brilliance. Thank you for allowing me to include your fabulous poem.

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks Dear Katy, for the kind words! It has been a priviledge to host such poetry. Thank you for taking the time (I know you're busy teaching, congratulations!) necessary to submit that gorgeous meeting of the body and mind in your beautiful poem. You, of all people, who have hosted TWO RotB's, should be thanked!!!!

Cecilia said...

Hi Russell! Thank you for inviting me. Congratulations on this job well done. I love how you've threaded the poets' works in one big poem. This is, indeed, a challenging task that's been excellently done. Elegant, gentle and clean. A big round of applause to you!!!

Russell Ragsdale said...

Cecilia, thanks to you for your wonderful poem! Thanks also, sweet lady, for all the kind words you have lavished on me. I am so pleased you enjoyed my humble efforts.

gulnaz said...

those are some lovely poems!!

csperez said...

thanks for giving me the info russell, i hope i can submit for the next one and would love to host at some point...

abhay k said...

Great going here Russell,
missed the deadline. May be the next time!

Russell Ragsdale said...

Gulnaz, I am still in awe of the poem you sent! Thanks so much.

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi CSP! Daniel Barkowitz will be the next host. Click on the big blue ROTB badge at the top of the carnival and check out the info there. You'll want to submit by Thursday of this week. While you are at the ROTB site you can sign up for a carnival hosting too.

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi abhay k! Sorry you missed it. The next ROTB will be at Daniel Barkowitz's blog. See above what I told CSP and go check it out.

Pat Paulk said...

Russell, what a brillantly put together poem including all the titles. Now, I'm really sorry I didn't take 5 minutes to join in. Teach me to get bogged down with work!! Have to go back and read all the poems. You are an amazement my friend!!

gulnaz said...


Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks Pat! I'm sure your poem would have made a really meaningful contribution here. These are really pleasant events and I hope you will take the few moments necessary to join in the next time. Thanks again for all the kind words, my friend!

Russell Ragsdale said...

Gulnaz, you are welcome and deeply appreciated, my sweet.

ozymandiaz said...

Loved the poem and you introduced me to a couple of new poets I like alot. Thanks.

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks Ozy, your ROTB inspired me a lot. Thanks for putting that great poem in the mix. I'm glad you found some new poets.

KGT said...

Thank you Russell for hosting the ROTB in such grand fashion. Well done.

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks to you KGT for your grand submission. What a beautiful song poem. It is the submissions that make the ROTB the great experience it is!