Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Contestant's Anxiety . . .

 The Contestant's Anxiety at the Tossing of the Caber
 by Alan Catlin

From afar, as seen over the heads
of spectators seated in low bleachers,
this wavering pole makes no sense,
impelled forward by some unseen
force, then lifted, launched, hurled
furiously or dropped, suddenly, without
ceremony, a dreadful weight relinquished,
unaccompanied by applause or appreciation,
but, rather a collective, groaning,
a gasping gradually diminishing until
the post appears again and the ritual
is repeated.

Watching, closer, at one with the crowd,
the process contains a reason, a method;
you can see the contestant bent at the waist,
large leg muscles fully flexed, great arms
encircling the pole's girth, back rigid,
straining, facial muscles taut, expression
intent while the clasped hands slide down
the tapered wooden base of the pole,
anticipating the lift, the fearsome jerking
upward, the awkward balancing, shifting
weights composed for the act, equilibrium
maintained prefatory to the dread march
forward into the field of play.

A perfect toss approximates high noon
on an imagined clock facing, upon which,
no real shadows are cast.

~ first published in Opossum Holler Tarot