The Goring


Arena dust rusted by four bulls' blood to a dull redness,

The afternoon at a bad end under the crowd's truculence,

The ritual death each time botched among dropped capes, ill-judged


The strongest will seemed a will towards ceremony. Obese, dark-

Faced in his rich yellows, tassels, pompons, braid, the picador


Rode out against the fifth bull to brace his pike and slowly bear

Down deep into the bent bull-neck. Cumbrous routine, not artwork.

Instinct for art began with the bull's horn lofting in the mob's

Hush a lumped man-shape. The whole act formal, fluent as a dance.

Blood faultlessly broached redeemed the sullied air, the earth's grossness.



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