The crowd stands packed, and its moan becomes a hiss
As the Tight Rope Walker, at the edge of the abyss,
With his eyes glazed over, trips, and seems to nearly fall,
But in his drunken stupor he's not really there at all.
`Oh, Lord have mercy; Save him,' bravely mutters mother's son
But the Tight Rope Walker's lonesome woes have just begun.
As though he floats, he drifts out on the rope he cannot see
As though his feet remember rope and tell him where to be.
Disdaining nets he'd clambered up and seized the balance pole
Driven by unforeseen whim to reach his drunken goal
And now he wavers crazily, both feet upon the wire
That stretches like infinity from spire to tented spire.
Halfway across he pauses and lets out a ghastly groan
To say his burden borne so far's too much to bear alone.
The crowd is in a frenzy, fraught with fear for Walker's life.
His maddened risks inflame their burning sacrificial knife.
From his face he seems to listen to a judging voice
From his eyes the tears that glisten offer awful choice.
The screaming silence stretches time, he wrestles with his soul
Until his bowed back straightens, acquiescing in his role.
With a parody of courage, calm, he Walks the narrow line
With his demeanor sober though his eyes remain ashine.
Then, at last! He's over; and the crowd demands the share
Of blood that was denied them, of flesh he wouldn't spare.
So he turns to take a bow, and jumps into the air!
As the crowd falls up and slowly spirals out of sight,
The house lights dim abruptly.
The show is over for the night.