Louis Bertolotto

advert for flea circus

Bitten by the bug, Regency London swarmed
to Signor Bertolotto's Exhibition of Industrious Fleas.

Here, he presented the world on a microscopic scale,
slyly suggesting, we are no better than these hoppers.

The males unworkable, only females he would use, train them to juggle
minute balls or harnessed with a copper thread, made to pull carriages

fashioned by watchmakers to display their art. For the finale
an enactment of Waterloo, to rouse from his audience victorious cheers.

Devoted to his troupe, he paid their salaries with his own blood,
aware his greedy divas would bleed him dry if they could.

Stephen Bone

If you have any thoughts about this poem, Stephen Bone would be pleased to hear them