They shuffle noisily within,
Excited to behold,
They stir amid their eager din,
Each seat and ticket sold.
From out the chilly winter night,
The couples, arm in arm,
All enter in the theatre bright,
Entreated by its charm.
They shed their coats with snowflakes specked,
Recline in lavish dress
In silken chairs, prepared inspect
The front, and thrill repress.
At last, the lights and murmurs fade,
The brilliant set reveals,
Applause erupts for host displayed
Who bows on gracious heels.
A rabbit picked from out a hat,
A string twice-cut made whole;
They passive clap and restless chat,
Familiar with the role.
Their act endured and nearing end,
A volunteer they call,
So up a chosen fan they send,
And to the stage they crawl.
A child ascends in clumsy awe,
Obeying crowd's command,
Confused as spotlights to them draw,
Too young to understand.
The audience awakens now
As feat awaited starts,
Upraises its collective brow,
And quickened beat their hearts.
Performer counts and all repeat
Until a cheerful 'One!',
Then shoots the child from head to feet
With ornamented gun.
They leap with joyful cries from rows,
Uproarious in praise,
The player bows, the curtains close,
And light the exit-ways.