The French funambulist of world renown
has come to carry out his daring act.
A swarm of tourists overruns the town;
bets are placed, escarpment benches packed.
Two hundred feet atop the misty pit,
with unaffected ease and nimble tread,
he sends the anxious crowd into a fit
of frenzy, tumbling, standing on his head.
Le Grand Blondin requests a volunteer
to piggyback across . . . a sudden hush
descends, betraying both desire and fear.
Tant pis! he seems to tease, above the rush
of the Niagara, waving to us all.
We hold our breath. And wait for him to fall.
(from “Seven Deadly Sonnets”)