In the faraway land of Hayastan,
unfamiliar to the unschooled man,
beneath the mountain that once was
the port for Noah’s Ark,
lived a man that made a life as
a clown, in a circus park.
But there were no laughs in his caravan,
Life was hard for this poor man,
awaiting Death to take his wife,
one of two loves in his life.
Filled with grief the clown he saw
his wife wasting away,
but knew that there had to be
meaning in all dismay.
The horrid symptoms of consumption
was God’s will, was his assumption.
His other love, his little girl,
became motherless in this world.
The Clown took he the death to mean
it had been time for change.
He thought the best would be to board
a boat to somewhere strange.
His landlocked homeland had no shores
he had to journey for a ship.
He packed his case and then prepared
his daughter for the trip.
He couldn’t wander west,
For there they slew his country men,
he would go through Georgia.
He traveled long and he traveled far
Out to the dark Black Sea.
He boarded a vessel that would sail
To the New World filled with glee.
They sailed through the Bosperus strait
Where he thaught his girl to fasten bait.
They stopped a day on the isle of Malta
then journeyed past the rock of Gibraltar.
They’d sailed far out on the open sea,
no land had been in sight,
when a livid storm hit their ship
in the dead of night.
The wind it roars and the sails they crack
as the ship is going down.
He protects his girl from the waves’ attack.
“I will not let you drown.”
But the sea is strong and it’s liquid arms
they are so full of force.
The drowning clown is willful, but weak.
You can never keep back anything
the ocean wants, of course,
but the father refuses to give up,
though life is bleak.
They draw their breath
and pray that they wont die
as the tired father treads the sea
and tries to hold her high.
He tells her
“It will all be good,”
but he knows it is a lie.
His legs they burn in the icy sea,
the painful fear and agony
tears at the poor clowns soul.
He’s clinging to his faith of old
“Please save me lord above,
take me please, and let her live,
my only little love.”
God does not appear to hear.
“Why would God tear my child from me?
take innocent life away at whim?”
He spits, and burps and chokes, and coughs,
barely managing to swim.
He knows that the Almighty’s plan
is inscrutable to man.
There is no way a mortal can
even start to understand.
But he knows his own girls’ heart is pure,
she’s a beaming innocent.
“Please My Lord don’t drown her dead
I promise I’ll repent.
I’ll stop this silly life of mine
the constant sheer frivolity.
Please God, I beg you Lord
let her escape mortality
So many of your church men said
That only sin and devils work
With circus and laughs is spread
I thought them wrong, I couldn’t see
That you were only testing me
to not trust my own head.
A little child so young and weak,
how could you in your wisdom seek
such havoc for the meek.”
He needs a rest so desperately
but the storm is blowing ceaselessly.
With his girl’s arms around his neck
Like an anchor from a ship,
She shouts into his dripping ear
with diction like a whip
“Please strong father hold me fast.
I can not even see the mast!
How can we sail to the New World
without even a boat?”
He smiles to calm his little girl
Whilst struggling to float.
With his last remaining strength
He takes his necklace of his head
It has always kept him safe
And promised hope ahead
Now he wants his girl to have
all his hope instead.
It sparkles as the lightening flash
and shortly lights the dark.
It is a golden recreation
of Noah’s Ark.
And how it hurts his soul to see
this symbol of a boat
That saved each living thing
by keeping them afloat.
He prays again to his Lord God
“Please send an Ark for me,
I can not hold her anymore
please end this misery.”
But nothing comes
and the storm it blows,
blows on, and on, and on.
His legs are lame
and he knows,
that the sea has won.
As the father cries tears of blood
and trembles with fatigue
The ocean waves comes crashing in
and finally end the siege.
It grabs them both
and tear and tear,
and tear and tear apart.
No stronger love was fought unbound
in ocean or on solid ground.
So finally the moment comes
when he no longer can hold on
As she slips out of his grip
he sees her as a swan.
The clown he isn’t strong enough
to hold his little girl.
Their fingers part, she’s drifting off
he thinks he hears her cough.
In his mind his cygnet love
swims on to a better place
it brakes his heart to look upon
her little drowning face.
“Why do you deem it time,” he screams,
but God does not retort
All his strife has come to naught
Little hope remains for him,
it all seems rather grim.
He wishes to go to God as well,
so he doesn’t swim.
To his surprise he woke alive
in a narrow berth.
It felt like someone stabbed his heart
now he had no worth,
as in a flash it came to him:
She had left this earth.
Beside him sat a sailor
he'd fallen deep asleep.
The clown turned against the wall
to weep and weep and weep.
The ship was full of sailors
harpuners and whalers.
The ship was full of sailors
harpuners and whalers.
As they fished him from the sea
they found the clown's red nose.
There were mumbles and commotion,
“only clowns wears one of those.”
And the men proposed in jest
the man he was a clown.
But, when asked if it was so,
he would only frown.
Then one day the ship it docked
in the tiniest of ports.
The half dead fool, he left ship,
dressed finely up, of sorts.
he headed straight for town
in nothing but a gown.
He had no place to be or go
but walking numbed the pain.
No thing to do, no folks to meet
he swirled into a drain.
His mind could fly so far away
No thing to do, no folks to meet
he swirled into a drain.
His mind could fly so far away
and he could be relieved.
The walking it was good for him,
that was what he believed.
But he was almost naked
so far away from home,
he would need some clothes and shoes,
if he was to roam.
In a corn crop, by the little port
He saw a scarecrow standing,
waving in the gentle wind
with night dark ravens landing
on his outstretched arms,
in a field between two farms.
A scarecrow not repulsing birds
is absolutely obsolete.
With easy heart the jester could
the scarecrows clothes deplete.
The stranger in a strange new land
thought that he would drown
in all the tears that fell from him,
the broken hearted clown.
There was no joy in his heart no-more
Without the daughter he adored
He only wished to be ignored.
But somewhere deep inside there were
a spark that would deter,
the harrowed soul from finding death.
It stopped him seeking his last breath.
Even with a broken heart
a man must eat and drink.
But it’s so hard to make folks laugh
when of only misery you think.
And soon his belly rumbled
even louder than his heart
and he knew the time had come
for his display’s of mirth to start.
In the Scarecrow’s suit
he made up his mind.
“I’ll present my act on the seaport square.
From the look of all these sour-faced men
a show like this, is rare round here.”
He found a spot he thought would work,
wiped away a little tear.
He begun his old routines from home
but found the acts fell flat.
As he did his best to make them laugh,
they all shunned him like a rat.
Moments meant for laughter
were ominously silent
other moments meant for joy,
on the brink of being violent.
By the culmination of his act
the audience had left
the ancient, lonely harlequin
was quite alone in fact.
To stop his hunger,
he stole a bread
and ate it in the grave yard,
surrounded by the dead.
And so it went for many months
the clown became a thief.
To avoid the law his stays in towns
they all became quite brief.
On feet or in a railroad cart
always further south.
Tormented by his drowning girl
consumed by Neptune’s mouth.
The dust it blew right through him
as he walked the wind swept land
not enough of food to eat
neither fresh nor canned.
He was heading straight into a drought.
On his long and lonesome way,
way, way, way down south,
Then one day as the clown
walked into a town
there was a circus in the square.
A tiny little horse drawn show
with a Strongman and a bear.
The half starved and thirsty clown,
walked up like he belonged.
He tried to tell the circus men
he was a clown from far away
who had by life been wronged.
The strong man laughed and told him
straight up to his face
“You, a clown, I doubt that’s true.
You look like a disgrace.”
The jester he would not give up
He wanted bad to be on show
on a stage, in a big top.
But they did not want to hire him
as a funny man.
They didn’t think he’d have a plan
to make crowds laugh until they’d weep.
Instead they saw the poor old man
as a homeless creep.
But finally he got a job
as a low paid geek.
He got his board
and two bucks per week.
So the clown that lost his luck
now made a living eating snakes.
He found he didn’t mind
If he imagined they were steaks.
They traveled in the horse drawn carts,
from town to town,
but every village, just as bad
there just weren’t no cash around.
The shows were empty
but the fairground full
of people looking in.
The children looked so awfully thin.
Trying to get a man to gamble
a game, he couldn’t win
was crime as dark as sin.
When people starve
then no one wants
see the Wildman eat a snake.
With enough days without a bite
you have such a belly-ache,
seeing a man in a pit
bite the head right of a snake
does not repulse a bit.
Then after many weeks of this
they arrived into a town
Every river had run dry,
with deep cracks in the ground.
There had been no rain for months,
perhaps even for years.
The sound of crying, thirsty babes
filled their dusty ears.
Just before the show should start
the promoter called them ‘round,
famous for his armored heart,
he told them that the world they knew
had begun to fall apart.
The fat promoter climbed atop
the wagon filled with poles.
He raised his hands and cleared his throat
to the parched cries of a dancing goat.
“There is no money in any town
neither here nor there,
all the water has turned brown,
we are miles from anywhere.”
His eyebrows furrowed as he said
“We are sorry to have to tell you this
but the Carnival is Dead.”
He took his hat so solemnly
of his sweaty head
and placed it right before his heart
as an example for the crew,
but his face, a tad to smug,
the Strongman yelled
But there were no doubt in any mind
That the fairground did unwind.
And the carnival disbanded when
the management ran off
there were many hefty quarrels
and plenty fight and scoff
before they all went separately
out in the world, all free.
He’s stranded now without a job
in a one horse town.
He takes a stroll to look around.
then sets his course for the only bar
to swamp his feelings with a drink.
Anything to stop him think.
But as he nears the door he hears
sweet sounds from a guitar.
He’s never heard such sounds before.
It grabs his hurting heart and tear
and tear and tear, but not apart,
rather piercing like a dart.
while he sings
it sounds as sweet as art.
Like the very hand of God
had sprouted from a man,
for only the divine it can
turn soul straight into sound
as coarse and harsh and primitive
as from this coloured fellow,
that sits in the darkened corner
Looking rather mellow.
Strumming, picking, plucking
the soul from his guitar.
The guitarist was hardly old enough
to be called a man.
“He’s but a boy how can it be?
I need to know how it began.
Can there be enough inside of him
of life both sweet and grim?
Heaven, earth and all between
from the time before the very day
when God him self would say:
let there be time and space and life
and death and all between
and all the way until it ends
How comes it that this young man can
so easily convey
all this just through his play”
When the music stops
the jester goes
over with a drink.
they sure are sweet.
They really make me think,
that never in my time I’ve heard
their like before, my friend.
The lacerations through my soul that loss
of love from life it tore,
your music seems to mend.’
“I’m glad it makes you feel like this.
For the price to play so sweet a tune
was my soul to the abyss
on Beelzebub’s harpoon.
Satan showed me how to croon
and play this old guitar
He promised me I’d be a star.
But in return I had to give
The Evil One control
Of my immortal soul.”
The Merrier he drank his drink
And gave it all a good old think.
“I’ll ask the devil to make of me
the funniest man on earth.
Make my mother the only one
to ever have given birth
to such a man of mirth.
I see no further down from here
so tell me, if you can,
where can I meet this devil man?
I’d like of him to make it so
each time I do a show
I’m always met with laughter
never met with frowns.
I want him to make of me
the ultimate King of clowns.
‘You must be sure
that’s what you want.
For the price you’ll have to pay
is that you must sign away
your own immortal soul.’
“Oh I don’t care about my look
my empty gut or smell.
I have hurt too much to care
I now want to excel.”
But in his heart he hoped
that he would to find a way
to keep Beelzebub at bay.
then I’ll tell you all you need,
all you need to know.
You have to get a crucifix
one that’s made of birch.
I know there is just such a cross
You can steal from that little church.
Then go to the crossroads
on the other side of town.
Just past the hallowed ground
where the gallows tree
stands black and dead.
You have to remember what I said
Nothin’ will work instead.
Then place your hands around the cross
so it is upside down.
You got to stick it in the ground
so the Lord’s whole head is in.
If you put it right way round, you see,
your luck’ll be runnin’ thin.
You must be sure his head is Buried,
burried in the dirt.
This is a fact I must assert
must be made inert.
His ears must be covered
so he can’t hear.
His eyes must be blind
so he can’t see.
You’ll have to spit,
you’ll have to swear.
and carve a skull
and dead-man’s bones
deep into a tree.
Then you got to be waitin’,
the Devil don’t come right away.
When he comes, you got to pray
you know just what to say.
The Devil wont be waitin’
for you to make up your mind.
If you meet him
with your mind unmade
the Devil don’t care to be kind.”
The Clown gets a wooden cross and
plants it upside down,
in the centre of the crossing roads
the call to hell is sown.
The Armenian merry-man
stood waiting in the sun.
He put his round, red clown nose on
transformation had begun.
The fool inside crept out from sleep,
funny enough to make grown men weep.
But the hours came and went away,
it is hard to clown around all day.
He reached into his jacket lining
and fished out a flask of rum.
It didn’t even touch his mind
That to drink might just be dumb.
Don’t dance with the Devil drunk, they say,
you just won’t get your way.
He’ll say he’ll fix your every need
As long as he gets to lead.
Shuffling ‘round in the wilted grass
He spotted a thing that shone like brass
In the yellow straw by the dusty road,
a little lantern gone astray
had become the castle for a toad.
And he fell on his face to pray.
Then he shook the cane toad king
from the throne where he tried to cling.
To find a little light
to illuminate the dark
was just what he did need.
If the devil came upon him
after the sun‘d gone down.
He was sure a simple clown
would in the darkness drown.
Unless there was a way he could
create a little spark
and with it plant a burning seed.
It is best to see your steps
if the devil’s in the lead.
The hours ticked past
with lead-footed pace
Soon the scare crow suited clown sat
staring into space.
Far away he saw some sheep
And before long he fell asleep.
He wakes up to the sound of steps
coming up the road.
His heart it hammers,
his breath is short
and long gone is his toad.
There’s no fire in his lantern
But he holds it non-the less.
He checks his round red nose is straight,
that the crucifix is desecrate.
He is ready to transgress.
The sound of steps from hobnail boots
on the feet of a Hobo man.
“The times they must be hard
when the Devil walks the land.
Are you the one called Beelzebub
who comes out from the dark?”
The hobo laughed and said he was
called by many names,
but Beelzebub was stark.
‘Well, then Devil, I’ll ask you this:
Can you make of me the king of fools?
The funniest of every man
who don’t have to follow rules.’
The Hobo he stood quiet now,
they felt the warm wind blow,
the hobo’s eyes was staring at
the red nose of a clown.
‘You don’t look like you are bound
by rules and regulations.
No, to me it seems you should
perform at celebrations.’
“That’s exactly what I want.
I want to be the best.
The one that’s so uproarious
he’s different from the rest.”
“Well, if you’re sure you think that’s true
that all of that is truly you,
that’s just what you should do.”
“If you’ll do me this
I’ll give to you my immortal soul.
I assume that’s what you want.
The hobo looked bewildered now
and stood there like a cow.
‘I thought you asked just in jest
to get something of your chest.
But actually you think I am the evil king of pest.
I tell you clown:
I am not different from the rest.
And my advice to you is this
If you harbor such desires,
to really be a king
or any kind of fool
I believe just as a rule,
you must do it for yourself.
There will be no help from Lucifer
or God on heavens shelf.
If your desire lies in art
just listen to your heart.
If deep in there, you know you want
to be an idiot savant
That fills good folks with laugh and joy
Bring happiness to girl and boy,
You must listen to yourself
With your heart as a compass on your way
you will never go astray.’
With this the Hobo walked away
down the dusty road
with no delay.
The jester stood alone
to kick the dust and groan.
He hadn’t dared to look inside
deep inside himself,
for there he knew what would reside.
A hole so deep and black and dark
It would eat him like a shark.
With this inside it wasn’t strange
That people didn’t laugh.
The sorrow grown from loosing her
wrecked his fate in all mankind.
It tore his heart and soul and mind
Until his art was so confined
It spoke to none,
not even him.
‘So long my only want has been,
I want her back.
This has been my nightly plea,
my poor minds only track.
Why did you take her from me Lord?
Why did you not take me?
How many nights’ been spent like these
With grief devouring me like disease,
my heart refusing to let it go
the image of her drowned below.
If I am to stay around
on this retched earth
I must make my life have worth.
I must release her from my heart and mind
To let what’s happened be behind
and let my soul appease.
The Merrier stood abruptly up
And grabbed the crucifix.
‘I’m hanging up this call to hell
I no longer wish to sell
my very soul for tricks.’
Then in the dark he took the cross
and dug a little grave.
To come to terms with loss
and her that he still crave
he decides that he must bury
the only thing that’s left from home.
He dropped the old red clowny nose
into the little grave
the carefully covered it with moss
then threw away the cross.
He wanders on as born anew
ruminating on what’s true.
“What is truly part of me and of my desires?
Do I still retain in me what my work requires?”
The road is long, the country vast
he travels slow and fast.
The road slowly eats his shoes.
He’s almost ready for a snooze
when some papers blow right past.
“It is two circus flyers.”
His heart starts pounding very fast.
And there it is so splendidly
standing in a field.
It’s trains and wagons all around,
a Big Top and Menagerie
so lavishly revealed.
It is the greatest show on earth,
finally, he’ll show his worth.
This is his perfect chance.
So happy is our little clown
He jigs a little dance.
It is the great big circus’ charity matiné,
he hears the proud ringmaster say.
‘Are all the kids from the Orphanage here?’
from the tent, a great big cheer.
‘How ‘bout the kids from the hospital?’
the response, not quite as capital.
Some kids too weak and others broken
but their smiles are their tokens,
they never could have loved it more.
It makes their spirits soar.
‘This is it, this is the day,
now can come whatever may.
No more masks.
The nose is gone.
I never willed
to be the best
I just wanted to be me.
I was stupid not to see
What is done comes not undone.
No longer will I run.
I’ll be doing this for them
For all those who remind me of
my only little love.
He sneaks inside the grand big top
looking like a hobo.
There’s no one there to tell him stop.
As he enters through the canvas flaps
his luck of luck it is
the clown brigade
is on his way to stop a fire’s fizz.
Stupid looking firemen in baggy pants and suits,
other grotesquely smiling clowns
dressed in giant boots,
are stomping on a fire.
Whilst they fall and run around
our hobo clown stands still
with tension and a zeist for life -
his dreams so soon fulfilled.
Then the clowns they notice him.
“Is that hobo clown a bum?”
The Clown Captain runs across
to evict him from the ring
but our hobo clown plays dumb
he doesn’t care about a thing.
Then the crowd all notice him
he goes out on a limb.
As the Clown Captain grabs his neck
our clown he wrestles loose
and gives the Captain’s cheek a peck.
Then he falls down to the ground
in the most surprising manner
he rolls and squirms just like a snake
towards the circus banner.
The children laugh at the funny man.
That makes the other clowns get mad.
‘Who is this guy stealing laughs and joy?
Who makes all the gags we can employ
seem tiresome and old.
Let’s get the intruder out of here.
When we get our funny hands on him
he wont be so bold.
But as they do the best they can
to grab the clumsy man
he falls or drops or spins around
to the music of the band.
His tricks miraculously saves him
from the fury of the clowns.
Which makes them chase him harder,
sawdust flying from the grounds.
The Ringmaster did shout:
“Who is this guy I want him out
he is ruining the show.”
The mighty swarm of clowns
is closing on our funny man,
his chances they look slim,
but it doesn’t seem to bother him.
He jumps inside the centre ring
where the tiger cage is set.
He runs inside and quickly stops,
kicking sawdust and some bottle tops,
then all the clowns gets in the cage
with sinister looking props.
But just before they jump on him
comes the most surprising stunt.
He jumps out through safety gap,
so tight it makes him grunt.
And snaps the lock down shut.
Then he stands alone.
The only in the ring.
For a moment there he thinks
he hears the angels sing.
He is the only one not in a cage.
The clowns all are looking
like lions in their rage.
The thunderous applause
and the loud appreciation,
so powerful that it shook
the entire nation
The ringmaster says:
“Who is this guy?
I need to know
I want him in the show.”
Everyone inside the tent,
there is more than
stands up in their ovation.
Which is quite unusual
for a clowns creation.
“I have never witnessed this
and I have been around,”
said the stirred Ringmaster,
he was breathing ever faster.
“He doesn’t wear a painted face.
No red nose sits in place.
It’s just a man.
The applause it has become so wild
it’s drowning out the band.”
All the crowd is clapping
Except one little girl.
Warily the girl stands up
and strokes away a curl
Eyes locked at the hobo
She walkes out in the ring.
For the first in the longest time
the old clown is happy.
Forgotten is the strife and grime.
He’s feeling rather sappy.
Then he sees the little girl
and her long blond hair.
Like an angel, she’s so fair.
She looks just like his little girl.
So beautiful she can’t be
of this retched world.
The crowd’s noise,
so loud it makes him dizzy.
His little brain is way too busy.
‘It cannot be.
Was I not free?
Why come this apparition now to me?’
His heart is pounding in his chest
Almost bursting from his breast.
‘Now, I am possessed.’
He holds on to his breaking heart.
‘This is it.
She has come to take me home.
My heart has broken.
Thank you lord for letting me
make them laugh again.
Smiles abound so nice to see.
Just one more time before I died.
Thank you and amen.’
He holds his arms out to the side
towards his angle girl
Now let us fly. Take us home
up through the circus dome.
Let eternity unfurl.
If my mind is playing tricks on me,
if this all is a dream,
then dear God let me please
just sleep and sleep and sleep.
His eyes are now so filled with tears.
He he can not see her face
The girl holds out her hands
into empty space.
And the crowd quiets down a bit
Some in the front now sit.
His tears makes him strain his eyes
makes the spotlights shine like stars.
Then he sees the necklace
on her neck so slight.
It fills him fast as fright:
A picture of that night.
The Necklace that he knows so well,
the ship of holy writ.
The very recreation.
The very Noah’s ark
he gave to her before the swell
ate her like a shark.
Now she comes on over
and whispers out his name.
And after that our old clown
never was the same.
The old man buckles and falls down to his knees
She puts her arms around her dad.
‘Please now father don’t be sad
You promised me: ‘it won’t be bad.’
And now I know its true.
I have so much to tell to you
I clung so long to the broken mast
But please now father
hold me fast
and never let me go.
They said that you would never come
but I always told them no.’
The father cried and cried and cried
He couldn’t make it stop.
No matter how he tried
He flung his arms around his girl.
‘My precious little pearl.
The miracle of miracles,
It finally came through.
Standing real before me now
it is really you.
It really is my gorgeous dove
my only little love.’
Thank to all those of you who found time for the full experience.