Gerard Beirne

Meditation #27     Curtain Call

It’s curtain call and the audience has long since departed/strike whatever pose you wish/the applause
you meet is silence/perhaps they are waiting in the cellarage at Hell’s mouth to spring out when least
expected/or the grave-trap crowing like roosters and baying like hounds/It’s tempting to clap yourself/

Better that, it’s said, than the inn-yards with their bear-baiting pits/fending and proving, scratching
and biting by plain tooth on nail/Tread the ground, and you shall hear its hollowness/but I regress/
the stone slab is prised open/the bodies of the tragic lovers pulled from the jaws of death/the curtain

drawn back on the bridal bed/the seamless transposition of stagecraft instead/Meanwhile a troup
of acrobats seemingly defy gravity/while in the Heavens the ropes and rigging engage the entrance
of an ancient god long since forgotten/What can I say/in the tiring-house behind the stage the costume

change is seamless and efficient/we the audience in on the secret from the first/the pageant wagon
not open to the weather/and worse, the double plot written by the game-writing hacks/and all
the while the jousters and fencers, singers and dancers, keepers of fighting cocks/the grotesque

costume of the antimasque and the impropriety of its dance/a disorder the interludes of masquerades
cannot transform/for god nor king/If you must, stamp your foot and all will rise on cue in flashing lights/
ascend as the counterweight descends/the satyr leering from the wings/the witling’s puerile conceit/

It’s no defeat/the mountebank’s to blame/fooling the penny stinkards in the yard with rosin blowing
through a flame/while someone else is paid to imitate the cock that crowed for Peter’s shame/the false
breastplate has been pierced and bleeds the blood of calves/the curtain falls and that is all we have/

Gerard Beirne was born in Ireland and has lived in Canada for over thirteen years. He is a past recipient of The Sunday Tribune/Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year award. He was appointed Writer-in-Residence at the University of New Brunswick 2008-2009. His collection of poetry Digging My Own Grave was published by Dedalus Press, Dublin. His new collection, Games of Chance: A Gambler’s Manual is forthcoming form Oberon this Fall (2011). A novel, The Eskimo in the Net (Marion Boyars Publishers, London, 2003), was shortlisted for the prestigious Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award 2004 for the best book of Irish fiction. His most recent novel Turtle was published by Oberon Press, 2009.