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...
(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! Gerry.