Saturday, April 25, 2009

Emmett Kelly's Sad Day Clown

Emmett Kelly's Sad Day Clown (For My Dad)

Cranky sounding hurly burly gig
Little people clowning Big
Fun House Times
Sad faced Mimes
Admit One
sad sad clown
Ride Free
Never mind
you'll be fine now

Coney Island special
get your hot chili dogs
happy and sad
lost and found
lovers quarelling
over a war drawn
in the sand
left by time
colours by clowns
who just happened
to come to town

It's raining all day
Emmett Kelly
shave and a hair cut two bits
it's a quarter to two
he'll be back around soon
buying back the tickets
to the blues
just look at his funny shoes!

Take a gander at the funny holes in his socks
big toe peeping out
from the end of soles
shoe leather mulch
too thin soled for a clown
big versus small humour
that parodies not paradise
but a living earthen hell
mocking birds joke
crows unearth
our inherent weaknesses
poking holes in our disintegrating
material wealth

ended far too soon
for this clown
the world's a stage
all that's in it too
and it was really all could be
was just far, far and too, too much
even for clowns in tutus and funny hats

the train did not wait
hoping for future happiness
for him by the bay
the Wayside Inn
for wayward seafarers
waiting in the desert of never
never growing up
never being loved
never finding love
searching and missing only
love a test that never could be
for some reason or other
bad karma not ruled out
life play's favourites
never in favour
knowing not much
about what matters
Love's Design for him
not cut from the cloth
missing the boat
that never launched
at Happy-Ever-Ending Land
in the way he should go
he did not know
but he knew how to be
a Clown

now now
no more sad clown frowns
Emmett will make gray clouds go away
renditions, traditions and new additions
A Marriage of Fools
future folly can make us jolly
for now strife makes for hard life
laugh clown laugh
pavarotti making panzerotti
surely you remember
the familiar score
the sublime and the ridiculous
and nothing

Balancing plates on sticks that go round and round
hold on
as two small cars
Beep in small circles
making big look funny for not fitting in
squirting fake water at small squirts in the audience
teasingly tough life clown life knows
how to get a laugh from our misfortune
and our pain
never ending torment, mild torture the funny game
No wonder some hate clownlife
except those excited by oddities and quirks
Quark life make out good times
for Role Playing Games

Emmett you paid the hard-earned price
like yesterday's jester
we are face to face
who's nose was clipped
if the King didnt laugh
that's why today clown's noses are red (and BIG!)
you werent a person
not a thing
only to be ridiculed
so clowns turned it around
to ridicule as once ridiculed by those higher in clas
but Emmett you must realize
you are the classiest clown ever and yet
dont let others do to you what you dont want to be done to you
Clowns should never be doormats!
the joke's on them this time around
Just For Laughs
Pass it on
before you pass out
no wonder clowns drink!

Pain turned physical
make it stop sidestitches again
doubled over gaffaws
ACME tap flowing like a river runny, watery eyes
blurting out tears of blurred unrelenting joy
at some fool hardy thing the clown would do

laughter never matters
it just flows when the mind finds funny
Sad turning pain to no gain
so dont ever forget to
laugh clown laugh again and again
only the good times will be remember
when we blot out the unfunny feelings
those sick jokes
that constantly try to deride
our standing in the community
as persons non grata
you take the fallguy cause
Zen and the Art of Clowning
our clown now intends
to magnify the real kind of humour
which knows no sore nodes
the humours business
is straight forward funny
without the classless jokes
of those who think they are better than others
and cruelly laugh at the clown's sad fate

as a found train of happiness
you Emmett have found your Source
Emmett you certainly have a quiet way of knowing
what truly tickles my funny bone
you make us go safely outside our comfort zone
how do you so quietly now?
You definitely now how to Wow me in everywhich way
and loose
your monkey business is catching
grab hold by the tiger's tail
hold on, another tale to tell!
another spin to take
another dance with me
my other lover is a clown, I guess

Emmett Kelly's
personality is subtle and subdues even our most intinmate
gritty painful truths to be told
own it claim it move on into
something new
a better way of being
Like Clarabella the Clown
you wear your heart on your sleeve
for all to see
which makes for transparency unseen
by most

clownlike of heart
you put other's first
before the self
For this you are my hero
Steadfast and true
you never grow old or die
but live forever in my heart
laughing daily with the beat

your silly comedia del arte scenes give
grace to our convictions of what clowns
should be
you are so funny mr sad man clown
with you
your bum's day old stubble
is a crowning touch
You're A Bum!!!

Matching as holey your old tweed coat so wellworn
threadborne and bare
born of much pain
you relent
to make me laugh
at your pain, woebegonia
how can I make a clown laugh?
as the clown is forlorn
a tramp among welldressed clowns
without the bucks
poor old clown
as sad as the day is long
you work hard for a living
for this I'm glad to pay you back

Dear Emmett
the other clowns may have funny money
but not your classy clown-like style
that comes at a price
a pittance of a pennies' receipt
paid in full
a widow's mite for a flea circus of faith
that life although hard
can be softened by others who have been the rocky road first
and what a pity
what a shame
they mock your misfortune
and take advantage of your naive and innocent ways
you deserve the best
the head table
at the last supper
your the angel
who never smiles

Like Aunt Pitty Pat
in Dicken's novel
at what cost fame?
at what price pity?
certainly not worthy
of your fine Clowning
the street-smart audience
sophisticated to a tee
laughing with malice
and sadistic candor
laughing at your pain

As you Emmett
brush off the pratfalls
the mocking leering and jeering teams
of preset values of unknown worth
that the world deems
more value than true
so be not of the world
you say
as you knowingly look my way

From the other supposedly high class clowns wannabes
thinking they are all that
so smug a mug
so sure a thing
making you smile quickly
then fading to nothing just as fast
soon the audience
hungry for more and soon forgot
instead of laughing wisely inside
the clowns mock the turtle once to much

Dearest Emmett:
you overcame all that life has to offer
and now it is really who cares
what the heck really matters!
Emmett you sorted it out long ago
I'd rather have only one clown to entertain me
for eternity is along time

As other clowns clones
hide behind a facsmilie smile
magazine smiles poster pasted
over such
plastic faces
Emmett I can see through your clown face
not much makeup to undo
the real you
to find the man behind the clown
is safe and warm and alive
for evermore
clowns rule!

Those other clowns
then going home
and hit their kid
cause they spilt milk
Emmett goes home to kid's hospitals
and gives the kids money to save their lives
Emmett knows better than the rest

Emmett you have class
for all the trailer trash
can make you smile
for a time
but Emmett
makes your smile
permanently affixed to your soul
the knowing soul of love's desires
the intuitive clown-sense
all makes sense now
the topsy turvy world
for those whose is screwed
that is a big screw
to match the big shew
you do each night
under the big top
Barnum and Bailey's
Ladies and Gentlemen!

once in your shoes
down and out
and living in Beverly Hills
on the window sill to jump out
with a ever so small umbrella
to cushion your fall
to mimic the elephants
as they look so dainty
when standing on one leg
and balancing barrels on their trunks
we all fall down
humpty dumpty had it much better
the kings men at least tried
to put him back together again!

From the lofty to the lowly
clowns please all
working for peanuts
our gaffaws the constant draw
for all your efforts
hope clown's get union scale

To those other clowns
that dont hold a limelight to you
to me they are so much less than you
they're hapless smirks and jerks
to vainglorious and sure of themselves
loud obnoxious clowns
A thousand clowns their ranks
too much

Fake laughter from another room
a three ring circus
performers all
pushing the envelope of etiquette
to make you laugh a minute
or better yet, laugh your fool head off
at least they admit you are a clown too
clowns like this need to find a place
in clown school!
Florida here I come!

Often far too large to carry a stick
these clowns are far too scary
babies cry when they come by
and want to pluck their all day sucker
mothers wonder why they make their babies
panic, and then look closely
the clowns really are babies themselves
acting infantile, bossy and so rude in-your-face
popping balloons, making loud noises, blowing horns
look at me! I'm a clown!
Enough clowns already!

These bad clowns with
Their multicoloured pockets
and big Ruby clowns feet
yes their telltale fake demeanor
is usually mean to extreme
they pull your hatstrings that sting
your face so there no wonder why
babies scream at this
obnoxious collection of phoney baloney
clowns or fools or frustrated losers
n'er do wells
clown wanna bes
bozos all
you want to punch in the mush
like punch and judy

so how do
you know us
as well as you do?
you know us like
the back of your
white cotton gloves
so how do you now live with your
big brown
sad dog eyes
staring back
at you
near and far
way below
the belt
the ground
rise up
sad clowns
take your mark
fight for us
ridiculed by smiley cloned clowns
lettuce become the teasing ridiculer
bully clowns alls
loving every minute
of my sad demise
in that clown's face
all my disappointments

turn it around
sad friends
frown is just a smile upside down
'cause inside we
'cause inside you
your heart much bigger than
the Big Tent
Much sunnier than the smile I never see
knowing it is there
brightening the heart inwardly
it it just that
and not much more

you are
bigger than the energizer bunny
who I came to know
you go for miles and miles
clown white and grease paint
the town bright red
with your sad love
clown love
is the best

Kelly green and sad sack brown
the big top
blue skies
country fair
amongst the daisies
Emmett has one for you
Sunshine yellow
and polka dot tie
red rubber clown feet
matches the honking nose
and curled up toes

Emmett Kelly
you're a doll
an old boyfriend owned
when I tried to take it
away from baby face
he cried and cried and cried
all day long
all night long
for sure

Emmett you are a Grand Toy
Plain and Simple made
Like your heart of gold, solid
and thing of value
knowing no bound
from yesterdays toil

When I remember the many
my sister made
every year
at the cottage
painted and framed
hanging in groupings
behind the bunkbeds
on the cedar'd bedroom walls
send in the clowns
they are everywhere!

in the cottage by the bay
on hot summer days
Emmett Kelly's picture
looks out from the wall
looking back at tomorrow
Emmett Kelly you knew it all
on the wall of fame
you had no shame
to show your sad emotions
were ok, hey that's a first
to be told "it's ok to cry"
when life ditches
and switches off the happy lights

and then
in the middle of it all
a place of prominence
Emmett Kelly is back
long distance forgot
reminences of sad face days
and red face ways
my blushing prince to come

but not in my dreams
I return each night
to that place of innocence
the nose knows for sure
for the most
in my life
Emmett's the best
none can compare

BooBoo's Clown
sad looking clown
who knew one day
i'd grow that tall
and find
you were me all along

Emmett Kelly
as you looked down upon
your subjects all
your the mighty King of Clowns
From your mantle throne
to other clowns thrown
creme pies
in the face
to make us laugh
and laugh
and laugh
til we run to the bathroom!!!

Thank-you Emmett Kelly for being
the clown I'd most likely be
can i take you home
for my own
much longer than a day
much longer than tomorrow
you are all that
and a bag of pototo chips too
so please let me be with you
not just a moment in time
for forever
just is not just long enough
keep me with you
closely hold me next to you
drag me around
never leave me
I'm your biggest fan

in return I'll give you
a lifetime of live, life,
love and laughter
what more can I ask?
you sad and funny clown
you have always been my own
with the bitter and sweet
you stay put
you wonderful clown
Sir Emmett Kelly The King of Clowns!!!


  1. Emmett Kelly
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search
    Emmett Leo Kelly (December 9, 1898 – March 28, 1979), a native of Sedan, Kansas, was an American circus performer, who created the memorable clown figure "Weary Willie," based on the hobos of the Depression era. Kelly began his career as a trapeze artist. By 1923, Emmett Kelly was working his trapeze act with John Robinson's circus when he met and married Eva Moore, another circus trapeze artist. They later performed together as the "Aerial Kellys" with Emmett still performing occasionally as a white face clown.

    Contents [hide]
    1 Career development
    2 Legacy
    3 References
    4 External links

    [edit] Career development
    He started working as a clown full-time in 1931, and it was only after years of attempting to persuade the management that he was able to switch from a white face clown to the hobo clown that he had sketched ten years earlier while working at an art firm. "Weary Willie" was a tragic figure: a clown, who could usually be seen sweeping up the circus rings after the other performers. He tried but failed to sweep up the pool of light of a spotlight. His routine was revolutionary at the time: traditionally, clowns wore white face and performed slapstick stunts intended to make people laugh. Kelly did perform stunts too—one of his most famous acts was trying to crack a peanut with a sledgehammer—but as a tramp, he also appealed to the sympathy of his audience.

    From 1942–1956 Kelly performed with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, where he was a major attraction, though he took the 1956 season off to perform as the mascot for the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team. He also landed a number of Broadway and film roles, including the role of "Willie" in Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth (1952). He also appeared in the Bertram Mills Circus.

    Kelly was a Mystery Guest on the March 11, 1956 broadcast of What's My Line? and answered the panelists' questions with grunts rather than speaking yes or no. When the round was over, panelist Arlene Francis mentioned that Kelly was not allowed to speak while in makeup.

    Kelly is depicted in a famous photograph, still in full clown make-up and costume, trying to extinguish the flames of the devastating Hartford Circus Fire that struck the Circus on July 6, 1944, and killed 167 people during the afternoon performance in Hartford, Connecticut, according to eyewitnesses, it was one of few times in which he was seen crying.[1]

    Emmett Kelly died at the age of 80 of a heart attack on March 28, 1979, at his home in Sarasota, Florida. He is buried in the Rest Haven Memorial Park, in Lafayette, Indiana.

    [edit] Legacy

    Emmett Kelly, Jr. at the New York World's fair in 1964.Kelly's son, Emmett Kelly, Jr., did a similar "Weary Willie" character; the two were estranged for many years as a result. Kelly, Jr. claimed that his version of Willie was "less sad", but they seemed quite similar to most observers.

    Kelly's boyhood town of Houston, Missouri, named Emmett Kelly Park in his honor and hosts an annual Emmett Kelly Clown Festival, which attracts clowns from across the region including Kelly's grandson, Joey Kelly, who returns every year to perform as a special guest.

    The Emmett Kelly Museum is located in Sedan, Kansas.

    Kelly was an inaugural inductee to the International Clown Hall of Fame in 1989. He was inducted into the International Circus Hall of Fame in 1994.

    In 1996, Kelly was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians, and a bronze bust depicting him is on permanent display in the rotunda of the Missouri State Capitol.

    [edit] References
    ^ "The Hartford Circus Fire—A Matter of Degree". Willow Brook Press. Retrieved on 2007-05-16.

    [edit] External links
    Emmett Kelly at findagrave
    Detailed biography of Emmett Kelly Sr. from
    Squire Rushnell tells Daughter of Emmett Kelly, Stasia Kelly's Story
    Emmett Kelly at the Internet Movie Database
    Retrieved from ""
    Categories: American clowns | People from Chautauqua County, Kansas | 1898 births | 1979 deaths

  2. The Day the Clowns Cried
    By R. J. Brown
    The worst tragedy in the annals of circus history occurred during the afternoon show of the Ringling Brothers Circus on July 6, 1944, at Hartford, Connecticut. With nearly 7,000 people enjoying the performance, the big tent suddenly became engulfed in flames. As fire spread up the side walls and raced across the top of the tent, the bandmaster, Merle Evans, swung his band into the song Stars and Stripes Forever -- the circus disaster tune. The sound of this tune moved all employees into high gear. The horses, elephants, the lions and tigers, were quickly led out of the tent out of danger.

    People stampeded toward the exit they had entered from. Unfortunately, this was the end on fire. Fire had not spread to the other end yet and employees tried directing them to that exit. In the panic, crowds still stampeded the end on fire. Three minutes later, the tent poles started collapsing and the roof -- what was left -- caved in. In six minutes total, almost all of the tent was burned completely and the entire area was nothing more than smoldering ashes. 168 men, women and children died as a result. Hundreds more were badly injured.

    The feeling of responsibility to the victims was uppermost in the circus management's minds. Five of the top management personnel at Ringling's were arrested on changes of manslaughter and subsequently served sentences and were ultimately pardoned by the State of Connecticut. In addition, due to the fire, Ringling's found itself with over four million dollars in damage claims from victim's families.

    In the aftermath of this calamity, Ringling management displayed an attitude and integrity that made their circus such an outstanding institution. They did not contest their indirect responsibility in the catastrophe; instead they and the Hartford city officials set up a special court to hear and judge all claims. No contest, circus management said. We will pay the damages.

    Due to the integrity that Ringling had in the aftermath of the disaster, an editorial appeared in the April 9, 1945 edition of the Hartford Times. The editorial read in part: "They -- the circus officials who were sentenced for involuntary manslaughter-- are in a sense the victims of circumstances and they are to be sure they will be so regarded. No stigma will attach to their names as a result of their sentences."

    Shortly thereafter, their convictions were pardoned and they were released from prison.

    In 1954 most newspapers in the country carried a story that the Ringling's had paid off the last of over 600 claims that resulted from the fire. All of the circus profits for the ten years since the fire had been set aside to pay those claims.

    Circus people felt particularly sad about the Hartford fire. It didn't help their feelings any when on June 30, 1950, the news services carried the story that a pyromaniac had admitted to deliberately setting the fire, as he had many others in other states. (See separate article in "Circus Listings".)

    An important footnote to this fire story is the fact that the circus had tried unsuccessfully to obtain the necessary quantity of a new canvas flame proofing compound that was developed by the Armed Services. It was pointed out by the Army that no civilian concern was allowed the use of the compound. Soon after the fire, however, the Army approached Ringling's and granted them the necessary priority to obtain enough compound to fireproof their tents. From 1945 on, the circus tents were treated with a flame retardant compound.

    Photos Taken During the Circus Fire

  3. Thank you for this tribute to Emmett who truly was and still is an American icon. I'm married to his oldest daughter and we're working to bring his story and character "Weary Willie" back into the public eye. Thanks again.

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