Sheena Blackhall

Gold Star - 6,231 Points (18/8/1947 / Aberdeen)

Charlie Chaplin: Against The Odds (1889-1977) - Poem by Sheena Blackhall

Clowns often grow in backyard plots of misery
Take Chaplin, born to a drunk whose liver was on the blink
And a mad mother, locked away from his love
Talented folk, but damaged, a fragile childhood

The Cane Hill Asylum’s motto was a brave one:
I bring relief to troubled minds it boasted
Soon after she lost her voice, her mind took flight
Along with the songs that made her passing famous

Smile, though your heart is aching,
Smile, even though it's breaking.

A bit of a cockney sparrow her son survived
Doing the Lambeth walk in the local Poorhouse
The sad dark eyes of the Romany on his face
He danced his way to America on the stage.

Actor, director, producer & composer,
Mummer and comic, slapstick, silent movies
The Little Tramp, his made-it-good persona
Bowler hat, boat shoes, moustache and stick
Waddled into the public heart and mind

Earthy and vulgar, the little underdog
Invariably vanquished. New immigrants
Could read the body language
The soleful speaking eyes, the stoic shrug
Authority figures reduced to inept baboons

The mouse grew whiskers: Chaplin turned to talkies
Cocked a snoot at Hitler, The Great Dictator
Was then accused of un-American actions
Witch-hunted out of the States by Edgar Hoover
The little tramp, dogged by the FBI

He was a ladies man, but liked them young
The sweet sixteens, the bloom new on the rose
His final bride, was older..turned eighteen
When Chaplin was a greying fifty four

Love, this is my song
Here is a song, a serenade to you
The world cannot be wrong
If in this world, there is you

Switzerland opened its gates, the Chaplins entered.
He used his Academy Oscar as a doorstop

Now honours poured like coins from a fruit machine:
Knighthood, a star on the Hollywood walk of fame
His face on postage stamps. A minor planet,
3623 Chaplin, named in his honour,
By a Soviet astronomer. Real stardom at last.

Neither drugs nor drink, but the fullness of time
Claimed him. The living legend
Died at home in his sleep.

A peaceful end with a sequel. His grave was robbed
In scenes stranger than any he wrote himself
His corpse a bargaining chip in a grisly ransom

Now under tons of concrete he lies buried
So huge a legacy against the odds

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, September 30, 2010

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