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Danger: avoid death


'Danger: Avoid Death'
(Warning on a tractor in the US)

You will look left and right
so many times
the road will never be crossed.
Keep feet firmly

on the earth,
ration your breath, and
give lightning a wide berth.

Swim in nothing deeper
than a basin, let others
tell you what the view is
from a height,
leave one light on
and say a prayer
before you sleep at night.

Compromise between confined
and open spaces,
avoid outsiders and crowds,
be alert for cracks of doom,
never harbour rats or spiders,
and for total safety
just never leave your room.

Cirque de Soleil
The bamboo forest extends
into us
as we perceive human shape
emerging from such weird
planets of imagination
and applaud gyrating leap
fevered flight
of weightless spirits
happy to embrace
ecstatic choreography
of exertion such lithely
practised exhilaration
happy to soar with them
companions in illusion
gasp at marriage
of risk and beauty
seductive thrill
while beyond the tent
the world grimaces
and behaves
as it always will.

The moon has fallen
into your romantic
sector. Delay action.
Be less frantic.
Avoid business deals
and cross roads
with more sangfroid.
Don't compromise
but invest yourself
with gentleness. Rise
early. Confront the day.
Be alert for augury.
Hear what people
say. Don't be a skater
on thin ice. Receive
your rewards
later. Here ends
coverage of a day
without rage or joy.
It is in fact no more
than average.

Shane McCauleyShane McCauley is a Perth poet. His published poetry collections include The Chinese Feast, Deep-Sea Diver and The Butterfly Man.


Topic tags: new Australian poems, Shane McCauley, Fears, Cirque De Soleil, Hororscope



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Existing comments

I like the modern Desiderata feel of 'Fears'
Cirque de Soleil has lots of movement.
In all 3 poems I enjoyed and appreciated the poet's attention to sound.

moya | 19 May 2009  

Dear Shane, my cotton wool is scratching.
Perhaps swine fever's what I'm catching.
I'll hold my breath - may no germs visit.
Pull down the blinds - not a bad plan, is it?

glen avard | 19 May 2009  

A splendidly conceived trilogy - the 'extatic choreograpy', the 'lithely practiced exhilartion' of the language of CIRQUE DE SOLEIL enacts the 'marriage of risk and beauty' the poem offers as an ideal of living. How strongly it speaks against the life that the other two poems enact - where for 'total safety [I] never leave my room' and live, merely, within 'a day without rage or joy'. Thanks Shane McAuley.

Joe Castley | 19 May 2009  

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