To give joy:
	How wonderful an occupation!
	To create
	Smiles and laughter
	Throughout each and every day--
	Ah, what a delight
	It would be!
	At least, for me.
	Yet, like the circus clown
	Whose heart is aching
	All the while laughter fills his ears,
	My own task
	Would be much like his.
	For no one could see
	The pain
	Their smiles were causing me,
	No one know
	How their laughter echoed hollowly
	Within my emptiness.
	The clown, the comic,
	The jester all give their best,
	Strewing mirth and wit
	As if their store were infinite.
	And though, perhaps it is,
	Each bon mot
	Still leaves behind its empty wound
	Which neither time nor tears
	Can heal.
	The laughter heard within the ring
	Can only mock and sting,
	Reminding one
	That it's other's joy one hears,
	Not one's own.
	The buffoon always gets it in the end;
	The crowds disperse,
	The noise dies down,
	The spot-lights flicker, dim.
	At last, the clown
	Stands alone,
	His painted-on dejection
	Now--a true reflection.
	Giving laughter, then,
	Is like turning tears inside out,
	To set the sparkle in another's eye,
	The glitter in someone else's smile--
	But all the while
	Leaving behind the wetness
	To wash greaspaint happiness
	From one's own hapless face.
	So the comic's lot
	Is no better than any other,
	Worse perhaps.
	Yet, even as one stands empty
	Within the empty ring,
	Some tiny, yearning, longing voice
	Lets you know
	Tomorrow, always,
	There is still another show.

	12/23/75


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