acts of god

I was down by the pond
cutting the willow back
I had to. It was my responsibility.
I’d been like that guy in the bible
who stuck his rod in the ground
and bingo! overnight, it was a tree
but now, instead of thousands
of believers gathering in the garden
to follow where so ever I should walk
it was just Val leaning over the fence
telling me to do something about that tree

it was whilst I was wrestling with the branches
bending them to put stress at the point
I was about to cut with the secateurs,
counter-balancing my weight
in a haphazard and ill-advised way
trying not to fall into the pond
and wondering if I did
whether Val would see
and how hard would she laugh
that I remembered
a clowning workshop
I’d taken when I was at university

the circuit clown who took the class
a morose but patient man
with a face like a dodgy walnut
stood at the back of the hall
‘I want you to go up
juggle three balls
and see what happens’ he said.
I was nervous when it was my turn
I stood on the stage
moving the balls
through their figure of eight
breathing, looking around
trying to be neutral
when suddenly my braces gave way
(yes, I know, I was the kind of student
who juggled, wore braces
and went to clowning workshops)
Everyone laughed!
It felt great!
I’d found my place in the world!
I made a big deal
of struggling with the braces
turning round on the spot
like a dog chasing his tail
feigning embarrassment
dropping the balls and then
accidentally kicking them away

‘Stop’ said the clown
‘The braces thing was an act of God.
The rest of it was bullshit.’

2 thoughts on “acts of god

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