Circus Images

Francisco Serrano (1949)

Translated by Timothy Adès

for my brother Federico
Round as the sun, bright as the moon,
surprising, subtle, vertiginous and pure,
the circus ring is a magnetic field,
the domain of dream, of terror, of laughter,
of the magic of childhood, of happy exaltation.
A wheel that transports us to a suspended time,
chorus of basic notes, a sly hint, a drum.
Its roll is the tense sublimation of the body,
daring converted into skill and grace.
Liveliness, courage, audacity, lightness:
the circus elucidates its round of marvels.
Above, ensconced, the show-stoppers of the tent,
shirtless angels bathing in a river
of enthralled faces, their eyes blinkered,
the trapeze-artists fly dreaming of precipices.
Hoops intersecting, vases, plates, cups,
cupolas of pure air, a sudden arabesque,
a castle of diabolos: the jugglers!
His soul on a thread, risking his life
parsimoniously, the tightrope-walker traces,
in tulle and velvet, the postures of fear.
Look at the horseman who has tempered his steps
in the difficult limbo of absolute control!
Delicacy, adroitness and aplomb in high degree.
A fine impeccable elegance: dexterity.
Emblematic horses, dromedaries from Eden,
Gallop on the shore of primordial time.
Lions on fire and tigers in orbit
flash, leap and arch in the hoop of sleepwalkers.
The elephants, grave acrobatic dancers,
equidistant masters of stone and cloud,
build with their bodies a trunk of protection.
Strident and ambiguous operators of nostalgia,
the clowns shake the tree of laughter.
Like waves in water their reverberations
one after another trace enigmatic circles.
In this simple, airy, astronomic ring,
a tender unpredictable hoop of surprises
in which life and dream compact an emotive
game that leads us without let or limit
to the heart of the world, we are all reflected.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Come
and enjoy the grace, the beauty and the strength
luminously spinning: risk, pleasure, amazement,
the true round of enchantment that dresses our souls
in the magic ring of the circus!
Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès
Translation © 2007 by Timothy Adès
Published in Artes de México.

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