Send Out The Clowns

A poem by John O’Neill

Never the favorite part of my circus visits
Too predictable
More filler than specialty
Only mildly amusing
Slapstick comedy not really my thing
But now I say
Send out the clowns
Early and often

Hit me over the head with a rubber mallet
Deck me out with greasepaint
That would be the envy of a geisha
The time for subtlety and clever satire is over

Why this reversal of opinion
The world is much too serious these days
Afghanistan and Haiti
Covid and its deniers
Mother Nature angry and out of control
Homophobia and racism and sexism rampant
The N.R.A. as outrageous as ever
(If only they would be content with just muskets)
Rich people spending a fortune to go into space
While hunger plagues much of the world

Then there are the faux clowns
Politicians acting as fools
Including a recent American President
To the delight of many
But in a manner that would have embarrassed court jesters
Some clergy joining in the fun as well
Fox News becoming Comedy Central Noir

Bring back the laugh tracks
From the television comedies of the fifties and sixties
And every time someone protests
Against mandatory wearing of masks for school children
Or says that vaccines either aren’t needed
Or don’t work
Play one of them

By all means
Send out the real old-fashioned clowns
They never promised more than they could deliver
I need some mindless entertainment these days
And give me children blowing bubbles
Birds singing
And orchestras playing Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’
Dogs and cats playing with humans
Smiles and tears on every face
Every moment savored

Please let the real clowns
The people who make us happy to be alive
Lead the way

Published in The Lark