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Ballet of Death

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Below is the poem entitled Ballet of Death which was written by poet Odin Roark. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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Poet's Notes

Ernest Hemingway celebrated the art and choreography of bullfighting in his nonfiction account "Death in the Afternoon." First published in 1932, the book is considered one of the most influential works on the spectacle ever written. In addition to honoring the sport itself, it offers the author's opinion on what he sees as the considerable bravery of matadors. It is time to imagine the bull’s bravery.

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Ballet of Death

 Ballet of Death

As trumpets prepare emotions
This sordid art knows well
My hooves stomp impatiently
Raising clouds of dust
Enshrouding my entrance

With shouts and whistles
A crowd's tense moments
Engulf this gladiator's arena
Demanding courage and blood

Far away
The grassy hills
Of his Ganaderias estate
Stands my sire
Now out to pasture
Erect and proud
Amidst sadness retirement brings

Once close to arena fame
Determined better as stud
He raises his head
The air has changed
He knows the scent of fear
The distance it can travel
He scrapes the ground

The matador awaits the pageantry

I shoulder my pen bars
Holding back muscled power
Energy primed for destruction
My challenger readies his cape

I squint at the sun through dusty air
A beast's freedom that might have been
Were not this
My first time
Most likely
My last time

Such brutal grandeur awaits

Stage one Banderilleros
Astride proud mounts
Parading to applause
Preparing to tempt my will
Their colorful presence
To test my vision

The picadors await stage two
Armed with lance
Saddled atop padded and blindfolded steeds
Ready to break my will

What will their first piercing feel like?

Will my neck be numb for the rest
Or will it but set afire my zeal to live?

Banderilleros anticipate stage three
Their barbed banderillas
Flag-like with colored local papers
Held ready to weaken my neck further

My loins tremble with hope
Knowing my destiny is to charge
Expend my energy
Then... trample my own blood
As the magnificent matador and I
Perform our finite ballet
This dance of death

My enclosure's bolt is about to be lifted

Very soon
The matador's flourishing cape
Its crimson and gold tricks of ecstasy
Will swirl about and around
The stoic-faced tempter
Suddenly grinning with anticipation
While soiling himself

The piercing will come
I'll not allow pain any glory
I will drool

My legs will buckle
The sword now in my neck
The nerves failing my brain
Blood loss weakening my heart
Suffering passing quickly
I'll at last experience
Man's insane pleasure
My fallen passion
Bathed in blood
Dragged away by rope and horse

So many hours
So many training capes
So many horses taunting me
So many chances to fail into freedom
Chances to be respected
Like my father

Faithful father

I will miss you

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  1. Date: 4/2/2013 1:52:00 PM
    A really unusal write- to see the Bullfight from the bull's angle- well expressed and invites sympatico from even the hardest heart. SuZ