Sawn in half!

and in her prime too!

A shocking affair.

Zoltan the Great has freely admitted it.


Pure pique

At being relegated from the centre ring.

Forced to do his act

At a double disadvantage

Whilst aerialists swooped

Oohs and Ahhs from the crowd

But not for him

And his girdle was killing him

Beneath the red and gold.


“Nothing personal, you understand,

She was a very good assistant.”

(The vapid smile – the painted doll-face,

The costume neatly darned,

And every spangle sewn in place).

“She was a good girl,

And obliged

If I should happen to feel the need,

Even at my age.

But I, of course, am Zoltan.

Zoltan the Great

And that was customary.


“No, it was the disappointment that I sensed

Whenever she emerged whole.

An anti-climax.

I knew.

I knew they thought me charlatan.

‘He doesn’t REALLY saw her in half –

It’s all a trick!’

I heard them murmur in their minds

And louder, even,_

In half concealed asides

To their popcorn chewing kids.

‘He doesn’t Really saw her.'”


And so he did.

And they saw her.

And they clapped and cheered and whistled.

And they laughed!


But not the clowns –

Their smiles are only painted on!


H. St. V. Beechey ¬†¬†November ’71.