Valsa George

Circus Clown - Poem by Valsa George

Suddenly from somewhere
A street urchin-
An untamed bird of the wider sky
Dropped down
Into the circus tent
Before him was unfurled
Scenes eerie….awesome! !
Roaring lions and tigers,
Gibbering baboons, caravans of camels,
Animal tamers and acrobats,
Artists balancing on poles
Swinging from bars to trapeziums
Pliant girls with plastic limbs
And pouting breasts,
Walking on tight ropes
A queer world
Peopled with beasts and men!

His face, painted white and red
In motley dress, he was arrayed
And a tall tapering cap, placed
On his forcibly tonsured head
He hardly knew what it all meant.

He heard the bells ringing
And it was time for the show
He was told
He would henceforth be a clown
And should make people laugh

A thousand sunsets passed him by

He forgot the familiar alleys of the streets
Lost sight of the endless pathways of the sky
In a world -
So populous- so empty,
He buried him
In the hidden caverns of himself
Nursing a hundred bruises
Inflicted by Time's sharp razors

Often he was reminded-
"You should make others laugh"

He did make people laugh
While a fountain of tears lay frozen
In the slivers of his broken heart! !

Poet's Notes about The Poem

Life in a circus tent here, in India is believed to be very miserable, especially for the junior artists. Lack of freedom and the meagre sustenance on the small remuneration they get are often their lot

Comments about Circus Clown by Valsa George

  • Akhtar Jawad (9/5/2017 10:53:00 PM)

    The world is itself a circus and upto a certain extent we all have no alternate to forget our pains, dry our tears and smile for others. A touching poem by Valsa George. (Report) Reply

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  • Bri Edwards (10/31/2014 10:35:00 PM)

    sounds a little like me when i worked nights for years sorting mail at the post office (in the u.s.) . but i didn't have a broken heart, luckily.

    for goodness sake(s) , this clown WAS formerly a street urchin, perhaps enjoying at times an uncertain life which seemed free to some, but which was probably at times very stressful. perhaps an orphan or abandoned child, eating from trash cans and dressed in rags! ! ! ! well, some might prefer that to a regular job! :)
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    noun: urchin; plural noun: urchins

    a mischievous young child, especially one who is poorly or raggedly dressed.

    synonyms: ragamuffin, waif, stray;
    imp, rascal, street urchin;
    derogatory guttersnipe;
    dated gamin
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    then along came a golden opportunity; he fell into it. i'm assuming he wasn't kidnapped into it. hmmm?

    yes, it is possible he was tricked and held (somehow) against his will. but wouldn't a lot of young boys be enjoying themselves in such an environment? ? especially the part about the pouting breasts? well, maybe he wasn't old enough to appreciate them. i assume the circus provided enough essentials and comforts to keep the clown alive and well so he could perform. he may have come to be in the circus with a preexisting depression.
    so, though i don't want people to have to suffer from the '****slings and arrows (or razors) of life', i think the kid was lucky to have a tent over his head! they probably fed him as well as they fed the baboons, or almost as well.

    interesting story. thanks for sharing. bri :)

    [**** slings and arrows:

    unpleasant, negative attacks He was surprised by the slings and arrows directed at him by several economists.
    Etymology: from the phrase “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” in Shakespeare's play “Hamlet”
    See also: and, arrow, sling

    Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2003. Reproduced with permission.]
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    p.s. i particularly enjoyed these parts:

    stanza one, especially the Pliant girls with plastic limbs
    And pouting breasts, .......of course


    In a world -
    So populous- so empty,
    He buried him
    In the hidden caverns of himself
    Nursing a hundred bruises
    Inflicted by Time's sharp razors.................. though, when i used to shave my face with a razor, i got cuts/nicks, not bruises. i get the bruises from my wife. yikes! ! ! :)

    and, or course,

    the last, the sad, stanza. : (: (

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    (Report) Reply

  • (10/2/2014 1:05:00 PM)

    When he smiles, world smiles
    When he weeps, world smiles
    When he weeps he weeps alone.... while making people gay and cheerful,
    His heart often bleeds,
    That we fail to notice,
    Behind the forced flickering smile........Valsa.... this is the life of a clown in Indian circus....very well composed
    with touching words and emotions.......great write as always....10/10
    (Report) Reply

  • (9/8/2012 9:04:00 AM)

    So sad, he cannot be happy even when he is successful at making others laugh. I like this poem a lot. (Report) Reply

  • (9/4/2012 7:32:00 AM)

    Perfect irony. But so sad. A good write, Valsa. (Report) Reply

  • Heather Wilson (9/3/2012 3:45:00 PM)

    So heartfelt of the life of circus acts in India, the last verse was so sad but a fantastic write, (Report) Reply

  • Neela Nath Das (9/1/2012 8:41:00 PM)

    This is the story of a clown(joker) of a circus.He has to love hiding his tear. Mera Naam Joker is such a film which focused light on this side. Very nice poem, Ma'am. (Report) Reply

  • Valerie Dohren (9/1/2012 2:03:00 PM)

    A common theme of life in society is the need to sacrifice freedom in order to earn a living, regrettably for some, this is at the expense of happiness and personal fulfillment. (Report) Reply

  • (9/1/2012 10:54:00 AM)

    The tale arouses a mixed feeling of empathy and endurance. The stage of the world has up its heels bitter episodes to tell about as the saga of life is an unfurled knotty cluster of woes terrifying and joys drifting.. (Report) Reply

  • (9/1/2012 9:25:00 AM)

    There is a common theme in poems and song about sad clowns and despondency. However, the language used and it's vibrant depiction of such a life in situ in India is quite telling, although I wonder if it is also true universally for traditional circuses as they wander the country with low pay and skills that rarely transfer beyond that world making it a sentence more than a vocation. (Report) Reply

  • (9/1/2012 3:37:00 AM)

    VG, you are right! who is well paid in India, while the inflation is so high? (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, September 1, 2012

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