Amy Lowell

9 February 1874 – 12 May 1925 / Boston, Massachusetts

The Travelling Bear

GRASS-BLADES push up between the cobblestones
And catch the sun on their flat sides
Shooting it back,
Gold and emerald,
Into the eyes of passers-by.
And over the cobblestones,
Square-footed and heavy,
Dances the trained bear.
The cobbles cut his feet,
And he has a ring in his nose
But still he dances,
For the keeper pricks him with a sharp stick,
Under his fur.
Now the crowd gapes and chuckles,
And boys and young women shuffle their feet in time to the dancing bear,
They see him wobbling
Against a dust of emerald and gold,
And they are greatly delighted.
The legs of the bear shake with fatigue
And his back aches,
And the shining grass-blades dazzle and confuse him.
But still he dances,
Because of the little, pointed stick.
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