The Prince of Clowns
i.m. John Whitworth, master of light verse
It wouldn’t do to mourn a prince of clowns
still so alive you’ll do a double take.
He’ll steal your heart and crook the sense in sounds
till what’s seen through his looking glass astounds
and only funhouse mirrors aren’t opaque.
It wouldn’t do, to mourn a prince of clowns
whose ballsy muse deemed nothing out of bounds.
His lines as lithe and wicked as a snake,
he reeled in hearts he’d hook with sensuous sounds,
and charmed us as he juggled verbs and nouns
while throwing curves to shock the dull awake.
It’s even worse, to mourn a prince of clowns
who—bracing, bawdy, daft—erased all frowns.
His mirth so pitiless for pity’s sake,
he peeled the heart and brooked no sense in sounds
as karma, wearing sneakers, made the rounds,
and had us laughing till our hearts would break:
so laugh, although we mourn. This prince of clowns
unsealed the heart and shook the sense from sounds.