Sunday, March 20, 2016

David Norris writes

The White Clown

I am the white clown, who travels 
from village to town, who says little 
and preaches much. You laugh at me 
cry for me, feel the pains that I 
have endured for you, walked steps 
upwards and downwards for you— 
the dancing clown, harlequin’s laughing 
clown, the stage walker who died in a duel 
one snowy morning, who was not resurrected 
on Easter, who fled with the demon horsemen.

Our family circused for generations. 
Poppy died on the high wire. 
Before his fall, we crossed deserts 
moved to the mountains where 
Swiss cottages dotted the miraculous lake. 
We fished, and we caught many fish, which 
we shared with the strangers who had 
come to hear my message. 
We divided the loaves. 
Crowds grew and followed us.

We traveled in their lands and then 
into other lands, the wagons swaying 
the lanterns’ lights twinkling in the darkness. 
My Venus sat beside me, pouring wine 
into my cup, looking toward heaven 
her hand squeezing my thigh. 
She was young and beautiful, with 
auburn hair, green eyes, long legs. 
Her walk could drive a man wild.

Great masters have seen her as ugly 
as a haggard old woman without teeth 
as lovely as I. She was not repentant 
did not wash my feet. Instead she gazed 
out at me from Botticelli’s canvas and 
held my hand as we stepped into the ocean.

We rode the waves together, called 
upon Poseidon to bring us his chariot. 
Then we left the old man with his nymphs.

In the spring, dogwoods blossomed. 
The flowers grew into leaves. 
Our caravan disbanded. 
I gave up mandolin and turned 
to three rings, performed indoors 
painted my nose, wore striped pants 
lost my hair as well as my waistline 
practiced celibacy.

It was for you, all for you

 Oil PAINTING CLOWN ART Red Skelton On Canvas Sad Clown Mustache Clown Red Yellow Chocolate Brown Yellow Flower 
-- Red Skelton

1 comment:

  1. “The White Clown” should be viewed as an Easter commentary, especially in its first stanza (despite the explicit reversal at the end of the stanza), the sidelong allusions in the second stanza (the deserts, the loaves and fishes, the large crowds, even the reference to Poppy dying on the high wire) and, of course, the poem’s closing line. However, it is not an Easter allegory; it merely uses the Christian motifs as a resonant background to his personal tale of love and sacrifice.
    Sandro Botticelli was a 15th-century Florentine painter. His illustration of the first printed edition of Dante’s “Inferno” was a seminal literary-artistic event, but he is best known for his painting, “The Birth of Venus” (portrayed as “young and beautiful, with auburn hair, green eyes, long legs” emerging triumphantly from a scallop half shell on the shore). Under the influence of the puritanical Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola, Boticelli first turned from decorative to devout art and then ceased painting altogether, perhaps even going so far as burning his own paintings in the infamous Bonfire of the Vanities in 1497, when moralistic mobs collected and destroyed thousands of books, artworks, mirrors, musical instruments, fine clothing, playing cards, cosmetics, and other vain, idolatrous objects.

    Coincidentally, in “Corteo,” a Cirque du Soleil extravaganza, the White Clown, a would-be authority figure, opens the door to the magic of the circus for the Dead Clown, who watches his own funeral taking place in a carnival-like atmosphere.


Join the conversation! What is your reaction to the post?