NaPoWriMo #8: To Kuk-lee

After To An Athlete Dying Young by Alfred Housman

That time you wound that wind-up fly
And let it go, as it zoomed by
The kids would giggle! With stern face
And butterfly net, you gave chase.

And now that little plastic fly
Is in a bag with spotted ties
Which, hand to hand, is passed around
Distributed to living clowns.

Smart clown! For you to disappear
Where clown white make-up never to smears
For though as rich the orchid be
Its root’s not deeper than a tree’s.

Small tragedy that, in the end,
You never drove Mercedes-Benz;
And yet that gaudy painted Ford
Turned more eyes in the boulevard.

Around the room the old ones mourn,
Another of their number gone.
Withered hands placed o’er their hearts,
A tribute to a dying art.

But Kuk-lee, oh to never see
A world where clowns are frightening beasts.
For you, the make-up paints a smile
Not bloody grin of the defiled.

To leave this world, to go in sleep,
Depart this poisoned irony.
Fifty balloons released above,
Remembering your boundless love.

Today’s challenge was to rewrite a poem. Alfred Housman’s “To An Athlete Dying Young” is basically what got me back into poetry recently, so I felt it would be great to try to rework it but with a clown dying old.


3 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo #8: To Kuk-lee

    1. Thanks! It’s based on two incidents: one is an obituary I read where a clown passed away, and at his funeral they did release 50 balloons. The second is that I have been to a meeting of clowns where they were passing out props from a clown who was unable to do it anymore. (Not dead, but very, very sick.) Kuk-Lee is made up, but it is based on a clown’s name who was retired by the Clowns of America after he passed.

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