Subscribe: by Email | in Reader

Tears of a Clown -- William 'Smokey' Robinson

Guest poem submitted by Gerry Rowe:
(Poem #1053) Tears of a Clown
 Now if there's a smile on my face
 it's only there tryin' to fool the public
 but when it comes down to foolin' you;
 Now honey, that's quite a different subject

 But don't let my glad expression
 give you the wrong impression
 Really I'm sad
 I'm sadder than sad
 You're gone and I'm hurtin' so bad
 Like a clown I pretend to be glad

 Now there's some sad things known to man
 but ain't too much sadder than the tears of a clown
 when there's no one around

 Now if I appear to be carefree
 it's only to camouflage my sadness
 In order to keep my pride I try
 to cover the hurt with a show of gladness

 But don't let my show convince you
 that I've been happy since you decided to go
 Oh, I need you so
 I'm hurt and I want you to know

 Now there's some sad things known to man
 but ain't too much sadder than
 the tears of a clown
 when there's no one around

 Just like Pagliacci did
 I try to keep my sadness hid
 Smiling in the public eye
 But in my lonely room I cry
 the tears of a clown
 when there's no one around

 Now if there's a smile on my face
 Don't let my glad expression
 Give you the wrong impression.
 Don't let this smile I wear
 Make you think that I don't care
 Really I'm sad
 Hurtin' so bad...
-- William 'Smokey' Robinson
(Song credited to W. Robinson/H. Cosby/S. Wonder)

Why Smokey Robinson on the Minstrels? It's not a reason, but Bob Dylan
allegedly once referred to Robinson as America's Greatest Living poet. When
allegedly queried about this he allegedly said that he had in fact meant to
say Arthur Rimbaud! Also, Smokey Robinson is definitely a minstrel and this
is a minstrel's song!

Stevie Wonder, who co-wrote Tears of a Clown, also nominates William
Robinson as an all time-great lyricist. I have to say that if the song
wasn't composed and sung so nicely I might never have noticed these lyrics
but once I did I found them more than up to snuff (English understatement
for very good indeed).

The starting point is fairly standard for a pop tune but it's elevated by
clever use of the clown image, tremendous metre that sings and reads equally
well and some fine rhyming that never diverts the piece. The whole thing is
very cogent and beautifully crafted.

I like the internal rhyme of 'convince you' with 'since you'.

Pagliacci is an opera by Leoncavallo in which a clown called Canio sings a
lament similar in substance to Tears of a Clown. Pagliacci wasn't a
character as such but what the hell!

If you're wondering who Smokey Robinson is you could check out a host of
websites for details. Briefly, soul singer, songwriter, Motown producer who
wrote many hits for himself and others. According to one website he's still
looking for gigs in his sixties so you could hire him!


34 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Peter Denek said...

Good synopsis of the song and its history. The lyric
about Pagliacci seems on target to me. The characters
of the opera put on a play, and Pagliacci is one of
the characters of the play and must keep his feelings hidden.

Daniel Lurie said...

quality song, but in the fourth paragraph the line goes, "in order to shield my pride I try"


viagra online said...

what a mediocre poem the best we can do with it is forget, why some people without imagination thinks that anyone can write ?

Ideas de negocios said...

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, but I am firmly convinced of this and love to learn more about the subject. If possible, acquire knowledge, would you update your blog with more information? It is very helpful to me

Unknown said...

The article posted was very informative and useful. You people are doing a great job. Digital Electronic Products | Electronic Products Shopping | Keep going.

Anonymous said...

Seberat apapun beban masalah yang kamu hadapi saat ini, percayalah bahwa semua itu tidak pernah melebihi batas kemampuan kamu.

Post a Comment