This blog's poems are from my published poetry book Star Steeds and Other Dreams: The Collected Poems (CFZ Press: Bideford, 2009) and are © Dr Karl P.N. Shuker, 2009. Except for author-credited review purposes, it is strictly forbidden to reproduce any of these poems elsewhere, either in part or in entirety, by any means, without my written permission.

How to purchase Star Steeds and Other Dreams

If you wish to buy this book, which is 230 pages long and is ISBN 978-1-905723-40-9, it is readily available online from its publisher, CFZ Press of Bideford, Devon, UK at and also from such major literary websites as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, W H Smith, and sellers on AbeBooks to name but a few. You can also purchase a signed copy directly from me, the author - please email me at for full details.

Available from , from , and directly from the publisher in quantities at:

Search This Blog

IMPORTANT: To view a complete, regularly-updated listing of my Star Steeds blog's poetry and other lyrical writings (each one instantly clickable), please click HERE!

IMPORTANT: To view a complete, regularly-updated listing of my ShukerNature blog's articles (each one instantly clickable), please click HERE!

IMPORTANT: To view a complete, regularly-updated listing of my Eclectarium blog's articles (each one instantly clickable), please click HERE!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011


Clowns and jesters (Dr Karl Shuker)

The poignant image of the clown who secretly weeps beneath his painted-on smile, whose staged laughter conceals his real tears, is both powerful and prolific, having appeared in countless forms, but assuredly attaining its zenith in the Leoncavallo opera ‘Pagliacci’. It was after watching a performance of this, and hearing its most famous, sorrowful aria, ‘Vesti La Giubba’ (‘On With The Motley’), that I penned my own variation upon this tragic, universal theme.


Here, ‘midst the tinsel and stars of the circus,
Stand I, before yet another vile crowd,
Gaping and gazing in leering distortion
Long, as their laughter rings raucously loud.

But know they not of the face that lies weeping
‘Neath coats of greasepaint, of white and of red.
Know they the sadness I keep trapped within me?
Know they the clear pearly tears that I’ve shed

Through endless buckets of cold chilling water,
Thrown at my face for the crowds’ grisly glee?
Tears that run rivers down pale whitewash features,
As all the hate and the envy I see

Circles, encompassing people and kingdoms,
All glaring at me through cold eyes of stone,
Stone as the hearts of the crowd now before me.
Gone is true love, leaving me all alone,

Lost in a world knowing not the true laughter
That I produced in those days long since past.
Nothing remains in a world ever changing,
Not even laughter forever may last.

Yet still I stay, like the great Pagliaccio,
Always I’ve known that the show must go on.
Put on the greasepaint and bow to the cheering,
Though all the spirit of laughter has gone.

For tonight gave I my greatest performance,
Giving my all for the bellows and jeers.
Yet did they know my lugubrious laughter
Served but to cover my visage of tears?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Free Hit Counter