My poem, Rope Trick, first appeared in Reach Magazine a few years ago but, sadly, the published version contained a misprint which dealt it a death blow. Misprints in short stories can usually be overcome by an astute reader but in a poem, where every word has a carefully selected role, one print error is enough to sink it. This then is the error-free version, the Director’s Cut, so to speak, written back when we discovered that our friends the bankers really weren’t our friends at all.
Upward, upward, upward he goes
on the taut rope in dusty heat
defying gravity, belief.
One rope end lies, sweat-oiled, coiled, neat,
on a soiled, cheesecloth handkerchief.
From his father’s pipe, music flows.
The other end climbs vertically,
upward and attached to nothing
and up that swaying ladder, there,
a small brown boy, with gold ear-ring,
shins, this red morning, while we stare
with breathless incredulity.
We western tourists: Brits, fat Yanks,
believe mostly in disbelief.
Dull cynicism is our way:
debunking magic is our brief.
It’s just a bloody trick! we say,
who trust in pension plans and banks.