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.