Giffords Circus, Minchinhampton Common, August 2013

Radical Stroud - Gifford Circus

When Giffords Circus pitches up on your green,
Conventional wisdom is mesmerised:
Enter the Big Top’s strange circumference
And Euclid’s straight-line space-time dissembles
Before your very eyes, Ladies and Gentlemen!
All is magick, spectral, alchemical,
Performers and audience conjoined in spectacle:
Clowns, dancers, musicians, tumblers, artists,
Balancers, acrobats, aerialists,
Fire-eaters, madcaps, funambulists,
Calumniators, vituperators,
A faux dancing bear, contortionists,
Backbiters and nonchalant trapezists;
A post-modernist rewrite of ‘Hard Times’,
Coketown, Bounderby and Gradgrind vanquished
By Mr. Sleary’s travelling circus:
What is your definition of a horse?
‘Quadruped. Graminivorous.’
‘You musn’t fancy,’ cried the gentleman …
‘Fact, fact, fact!’ said the gentleman,
And ‘Fact, fact, fact,’ repeated Mr. Gradgrind;
But welcome to Giffords Circus:
Fantasy, insight and ingenuity,
Invention, intelligence and imagery,
Chimeras, inspiration, flights of fancy,
Where nothing is what it seems,
And certainty is a fool’s paradise,
In Giffords Circus, Theatre of Dreams.