Friday, October 30, 2009

the willies


Since it's Halloween week, and we're in the spirit of all things awful,
I must admit creepy humans, like Du Maurier's "Danny" Danvers,
are much more frightening to me than ghosts or spirits. Maybe it's
because I've lived for years in a house that's haunted by only kind
and gentle spirits. But, clowns, in my opinion, fall into the same
category of human scariness, as do murderers and saboteurs.

With grotesque face paint and mimery, a clown hides his true identity
from the public. I'm sure the majority of professional clowns strive to
entertain with pure motives. But, for me, clowns conjure certain
unsettling thoughts about disguising oneself, as a wolf in sheep's
clothing, in order to fool people. Partly to blame, is most likely the
yecchy painting, that hung in my bedroom as a little girl. No matter,
clowns give me a major case of the willies, and I'm not talking about
the Nelson variety, either.


Anti-Clown


If she showed up at my door
all whitefaced and Emmitt Kelly,
her rubber chicken
and hidden agenda,

I'd burst a balloon or two
by telling her to take a hike.
Go do her tightrope stunts
in someone else's living room.

Ride her weird clown bike
down the street,
where they would not oppose
her faux nose and floppy feet.

Frown smeared with lipstick,
the big top ringmaster,
tames her own lions
in slapstick disaster.



willow, 2009


68 comments:

  1. Agreed. Clowns are unsettling, not gleeful.

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  2. It was a surprise to me how many people do not like or are afraid of clowns. I guess they are pretty creepy. Like a drunk woman who can't put her make up on right.

    That painting in your room wasn't a "paint by numbers" clown painting was it?

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  3. (We've discovered that we have a sweet, playful spirit in our cottage!) Clowns have never frightened or bothered me because my father was a clown (of the Red Skelton type). Clowns were meant to be mirrors, helping us to see the things in us we'd rather hide from ourselves, such as foolishness, impetuousness, and carelessness. I've never liked them as movies have portrayed them because, as usual, they display only the worst, most exploitative side of human nature.

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  4. Any frozen face is scary: a soul eternally in one deadly state! A face is to be read moment by moment. Love how you turned a famous clown upside down in your poem

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  5. really as a clown i was never that scary...i was a nice clown...

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  6. Ronda, yup, a paint by number. For a peek, you can click on "clowns" in the body of this post.

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  7. Steph, Hollywood has given them a bad wrap, but I hated clowns before I ever saw them in any movies. I'm sure your dad was a wonderful, non-scary clown.

    And Brian, I know you were, too...

    ...but I still don't like them. ;^)

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  8. Oh, and Steph, you must fill us in on your playful cottage spirit!

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  9. I don't care for clowns either, but never realized why. I do like to dance around and play the drum and act like a witch around the bonfire, but no clowns. I just read The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown, liked to wore me out. I couldn't put it down, but it was not what I expected. It was a marvel of codes but surprising ending.
    QMM

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  10. clowns are the manifestation of something inside us all that we know we can draw on to fake our way out of difficult circumstances and it's weird to see them out there messing around. that's why i don't enjoy them as much as some people!!!! have a sweet evening at the manor. steven

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  11. Haha. I love your poem Willow!

    I have a very close friend who's only recently gotten over her fear of clowns. I am constantly surprised by the number of people who share that fear with her, but after reading this post I think I can finally see a bit of creepiness. I think maybe I'm just a little to trusting to have understood the fear on my own. ;)

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  12. clowns, eh...never much of a bigtop fan either. Like the creepy header...have a happy halloween; hope your spirits don't rattle all night--won't they need some rest so they can watch the football games in the afternoon?

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  14. A classmate gave my daughter a laughing clown doll for her birthday when she was in kindergarten. When the batteries became weak it made the most evil sounding laugh we ever heard! It went immediately into the garbage, and neither of us have liked clowns since!

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  15. Thanks, Carrie! I posted on the header earlier this week. It's Xavier Mellery's "Rondo of The Hours". I think it's just fabulous.

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  16. Great header Willow. I don't like any of the scary stuff of Halloween, nor do I like horror movies, scary figures, or scary noises. I avoid all of that. I'd rather have a treat. And I'll be posting some treats at my blog - at least my idea of treats!

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  17. I still say that the Burger King mascot is creepy!

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  18. Clowns have never really bothered me, but it was interesting to read other people's thoughts on clowns. As usual, love your poem.

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  19. HA! I just clicked on your "clown" link to the painting. I had that one in my room too!

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  20. Ronda, the same one?! Well, yours must not have morphed at night, like mine did!

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  21. I am scared of clowns too. That dancing clown? one of the creepiest things I've seen in a loooong time. Now I'm freaked out...but in a fun way! I can't wait to show that video to my husband when he gets home.

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  22. Oh, it morphed...so I turned it to the wall and hung ballet slippers with pretty pink ribbons on the monster.

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  23. Ha-HA!!! I should have thought of that!!

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  24. Ok, you're going to publish your work, aren't you? You need to.

    And I can't stand clowns.

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  25. Neat poem, Willow!

    I don't feel one way or another about clowns but now I'm wondering if sending them into children's wards in hospitals is all that great an idea.

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  26. I can't help it, but I like clowns, the Red Nose variety especially. Scary clowns are really monsters maquerading as clowns.

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  27. You or someone else posted a long time back about the scariness of clowns. I've never felt that, but I understand why some would.

    Several times at Halloween, when we would go to parties, people behind masks would unsettle me. Some do hide behind them and let their creepy side emerge, acting strangely. Perhaps that is what many people may feel about clowns all of the time.

    But generally, I've seen clowns as sad, but trying to hide that by acting out.

    Sorry I'm jumping around tonight. Huge headache. Has been a long week. I'm ready for the weekend, but fear I may have to work. Alas.

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  28. Clowns didn't scare me until I grew up. Nice poem too!

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  29. Nice poem but I cannot agree with you sweet Willow. Clowns don't scare me. I think they are sweet. I think it is a cultural thing, here in the states people have made clowns into something bad.

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  30. "Coulrophobia" is abnormal or exaggerated fear of clowns. It's got a name, this fear of clowns! Interesting little side trip from your post to research a bit on the history of clowns...thanks for the prompt. I agree with you though - there is something sinsiter about clowns. It could be the gharishness of the clown makeup that is so particularly shiverish-making. I am partial to Pierrot and Pierette though.

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  31. LOL! I had noticed your anti clown logo at the end of your blog. I feel the same way about as you about clowns and DOLLS! Spooky!

    much love

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  32. That video is certainly scary!...Love your poem willow...you definitely need to gather your poems together for us...

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  33. I like your banner very much, Willow.
    Your poem is wonderful and clever. I think that clowns have been given a bad rap by some of the horror movies that have depicted them as murderers and monsters. I mean, once you see a clown portrayed that way its hard to see them in an innocent way again.
    I remember the last time I took my son to the circus, we loved the clowns and their antics.
    great post, and thanks for dropping by and sharing your good words with me.
    Soon again

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  34. I think a lot of people feel that way about clowns. They are a bit bizarre. I'm not a big fan myself. Great poem, Willow, once again!

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  35. Another strong poem, Willow. I don't share the clown fear. To me they are fascinating and beautiful. The recent book by Vicki Archer, FRENCH ESSENCE has a superb clown portrait in it. I find them poignant and eerie in a beautiful timeless way. Lots of things give me the willies but not clowns. xx

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  36. Nope.....I could never cope with clowns either. I'm just pleased to read that I'm not alone...smiling. Maybe it stems from a well intended exposure to them as children at the wrong stage of our emotional development.

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  37. Willow

    My son-in-law hates clowns with a passion.

    Nice poem.

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  38. I agree, spirits are harmless compared to what a clown can do to your psyche.
    I love the 'hour' painting, the color, the movement and all the butts...in that 'classic' sort of way, of course! -J

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  39. HH, they do have rather luscious butts, don't they? And I was also noticing how extremely long their torsos are.

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  40. I agree. Clowns are very creepy and the funnier they are the creepier they are. Have you seen 'The Blue Angel'?

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  41. RR, with Marlene Dietrich, right? And there's a clown? Hmm. I'm adding it to my ever growing Netflix queue.

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  42. Wow! Have the pictures been developed from the "Manor Ball" then? =D

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  43. Ah! My kindred spirit! (Can't even LOOK at that video.)
    I had a fear from childhood (didn't like parades or circuses) and then Gacy sealed the deal for me.
    I have a poem about a clown too (from way back). It's taken from a news story. Search "Lunchbox Louie" if you dare!

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  44. Forgot to say that it is a great piece!

    Kat

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  45. There definitely is that undercurrent of bad mischief wafting off the clown..your poem did give me the "willies"...ooooooo!

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  46. One of the infamous seriel killers used a clown outfit to entertain the neighborhood kids, can't remember his name but he was certainly scary.

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  47. YOU KNOW WHAT!!??

    i am just loading my scary clown stuff for halloween.
    remember i told you about the scary clown painting i had growing up?
    i can't believe you!!!
    and i love you, wish i lived in ohio.
    xxx

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  48. Clowns are spooky. My kids never liked them. I don't think I did either.

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  49. Willow - Shudder.....

    This one reminds me of Pennywise in Stephen King's "It". That was enough to freak me out forever.

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  50. I completely agree!Have you ever read that story of Stephen King??Oh God!But I absolutely LOVE that painting you put as a header!

    LOL at what Ronda's said the drunk woman with the make up!:D

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  51. My eldest daughter hates clowns too....actually fightened by them. Something that I thought was odd...until now...I had no idea clowns had that effect on so many.
    Jackie at Meadowsweeet

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  52. I fear baseball more than I do clowns .. and Emmett Kelly was a nice man

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  53. I am not fearful of clowns--just don't like them...there's something a bit twisted about the exaggerated makeup and hair and clothing...like an evil, hidden meaning.

    Someone mentioned Stephen King's "IT". Obviously he knew how much of the population feels about clowns.

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  54. I never came across scary clowns but, regardless, I don't especially like them. I do have a friend who collected them and her room was almost impassable because of her collection.

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  55. I'm with Otin...the Burger King is really creepy!

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  56. If I see a roach, I'm like- OH MY GOD!

    If I see a snake, I'm like- Huh.

    If I see a clown, I'm like- meh.

    A scary dancing roach would have totally freaked me out.

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  57. Hmm.. very interesting poem!

    Yes, I quite agree with you about Clowns. Nver liked them as a kid and never have as an adult. They just strike me as creepy. Probably why I never got into the make-up'd Michael Jaskson gig either.

    There is an awful, rather campy b-grade pseudo cult sci fi movie called "Killer Clowns from Outer Space" that plays on most of our fears of their sinister intent.

    Enjoy the at least clown free weekend!

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  58. Willow!!! I HATE clowns in a way that I simply cannot explain! I blogged about it a couple of years ago and found that MANY people are a bit phobic when it comes to clowns! What is it about them? ACK! One of my daughters hates them too!

    I love your poem but wish you would have used HARSHER language when referring to the horrific creatures!!! ;)

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  59. Stephen King's Pennywise in "IT" is enough to make anyone have Clown Phobia..ICK!..

    Clever poem there....

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  60. Okay, you KNOW I just LOVED that video. Thanks so much. 0_0

    I hated clowns long before we knew of John Wayne Gacy. THAT put me over the edge. WAYYYYYYYYY scarier than ghosts and vampires.

    I have a dear, dear friend who does a clown called Rainbow for parties, etc. Even HE freaks me out and I know who he is. YIKES.

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  61. I think there's a quite a market for those old clown paintings that hung in your childhood bedroom -- I remember reading that the actress Diane Keaton had a collection! And I agree about clowns -- even as a child I never laughed at them, and my little sister used to scream and run when she saw one!

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  62. I must say that I love clowns. Dont know why?

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  63. Hello Willow,

    Perhaps the fear for some people is not knowing what the clown might do, especially if it is directed towards us? Or the fact that people laugh at someone else's discomfort. It's fun while someone else is the butt! Good poem!

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  64. Terrific poem! Strong images, rhyming last stanza. Solid to say aloud.

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  65. I was at a street festival once and a clown was entertaining the crowd. Someone tipped the clown's hat from behind, and in a blink the clown grabbed him by the throat, saying "Don't ever f--- with a clown." It was a terrifying display of clown creepiness. I could not WAIT to get out of there and have been wary of clowns ever since.

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  66. I have never liked clowns! My sister's best friend collected them and I remember trying to sleep in her bedroom when we all spent the night together in her creepy, old house. I'm all for creepy, but clowns are definitely OUT!

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)