After reading Fleur Adcock’s “Knife Play”…

…I was reminded of writing my own poem, “Knife Thrower’s Assistant”. I had not been aware of Adcock’s poem until @markanthonyowen made me aware of her work, at least beyond the wonderful Against Coupling

Any way, while her poem is infinitely better than mine, here is mine. I can share this one; hers will have all sorts of copyright issues and the like.

Besides, if it makes you go and buy her book then that can only be a good thing.

Knife Throwers’ Assistant

I hand myself to him on a plate
twice a day, night after night.
I am not one for tempting fate;
luck gets taken for no ride, or a fool.
is a steadfast, iron-cast rule.

Don’t talk to me of faith.
I have to remember the knives are thrown around me
and never at or against.
I have grown to see this:
His aim is his word, and it is true.
I freely take part in this tryst.

Trust being the currency here,
we spend it wisely.
We don’t talk after work or come near.
I need no holds over him, or he over me.
For obvious reason we keep the other
precisely where we want them to be.

Arms at five past and five to,
feet at twenty five to and past;
then a whoosh as the blade is passing through:
Six in as many seconds as balloons burst.
Even if he were to hit me
the show must always come first.

When I started people came here
to be entertained, or cheaply thrilled
It’s getting harder to keep the audiences’ attention;
sometimes I suspect blood needs to be spilled.

With thanks to