The clowns are demolishing the circus. The elephants have run off to India;
tigers sell, on the sidewalk, their stripes and hoops;
under the leaky cupola, there is hanging, off the trapeze,
as in a wardrobe, the limp tuxedo
of a disillusioned magician;
and little horses, casting off their embroidered blankets, pose
for a portrait of the new engine. In the arena,
knee-deep in sawdust, clowns, wildly wielding
sledgehammers, demolish the circus.
The public is either absent or doesn't clap.
Only a miniature shaggy poodle
still yelps incessantly, feeling she's getting closer
to her sugar lump: feeling that any second
she'll be hitting nineteen ninety-five.
(Joseph Brodsky, 1995)