September 7, 2007


Markus, the Austrian Clown

There never has been
A more serious clown
Although true that when with him
You never will frown

He’s seen turbulent times
Lead a troubled life
Been immensely successful
And caused all sorts of strife

A death in the family
He was adopted out
But his family’s wishes
Would carry clout…

Expectations he’d be a lawyer
Just like his late pa
But with long hair and no suit
He stood out from afar

A girlfriend’s death
Led to a spout of depression
So he was sent to Barcelona
To provide a digression

It was there he first encountered
The world of the clown
All be it superficial
It would not let him down

The simple tricks of the trade
How to mime being in a box
Red noses, big shoes
How to pull a rabbit from his sock

Young Markus felt there was more
To this intriguing art
But a taste was enough
To ensure from law school he would depart

He travelled the world
From Europe to Argenina
As a wandering youth
He couldn’t have been keener

Another fatal tragedy
Would leave him disillusioned
Prompting him to decide
That long-term love brings confusion

-He tried cattle-raising
-And pantomime
-Was even a handyman
-To forget, and pass the time

He thought he’d found his niche
With a stint in the theatre
But actors can be cut-throat
And to his answer he was no nearer

He went to Paris
And at last found his calling
Clowing was to rescue him
And stop him from falling

He learnt from the masters
The True Art of Clowning
In which tough love and hard work
Sorted the strong from the floundering

“As a clown I must practise
Until the only way to drink tea
(On my head, from a shoe)
Becomes natural to me

“A hundred tries it may take
Until I find the right one
The key to make people laugh
To show simple tea-drinking as fun

“The psychology of clown humour
Lies in identification
With a childhood now lost
Sparking nostalgic contemplation

“The use of the body
The way he gets dirty
Clumsy and awkward
Like a child, but over thirty.”

To dedicate one’s life
To bringing enjoyment
Is an admirable choice
A worthy employment

It’s entertainment
His chosen skill
And his success is a testament
To the strength of his will

He writes operas and dramas
And causes furore
But this funny little man
Is a clown at core

When Markus shuffles into a room
And tips his bowler hat
His naughty eyes #######
And bring joy to any chat

Clowing has saved him
Pulling him through good times and bad
But its greatest achievement
Is in stopping the World from being sad.

Tess Lanning, Valparaiso 8/06


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