Just a clown walking through
the pale grey concrete shrine to
movement . Multicoloured cap and over-
sized shoes framing the exaggerated tree
contained between their colours.
Every step met with derision and laughs as
he gripped his black umbrella, finding strength
in its handle. His eyes darted around looking for
refuge and fell on the distant
I sat on the bench watching
as he made his way forward,
the smile painted on his mask.
What expression lay below and
yet I knew. Every noise, vibration and voice
intensifying his pain.
Just a few more steps, his shoes seemed to say as
they plotted their path through the fingers and arms
waving like tree branches. Rooted to the ground
but swept by the mocking wind that blew through
peoples stares. The voices, like a screeching wind
high pitched and repetitive.
He was alone in the centre of the storm.
Reaching the entrance to the coffee shop
I waited for him to bow in subservience
to the need to fit
through the door obviously not meant for his type.
His back stiffened unsure how to make this work.
No matter left or right he could not fit.
Dejected he turned and walked away.
The painted tear, at that moment
This clown just did not fit.
©Stuart Patterson 2018
This free verse poem, again, came from a prompt in my Creative Writing class. The challenge was a train station and at least two characters. The imagery immediately came to me. The station, as I know it so well, is Glasgow Central. It has been witness to much of my journey. The “concrete shrine to movement” is a subtle play on concrete being fixed and immobile and a lot of social trends today that think they are relevant and moving humanity forward, are actually more fixed and intransient than those they claim to better.
The poem is a metaphor for a guy that cannot fit into society. The two characters are actually the same person, the witness is the person looking upon himself, and how he thinks others see him. His beliefs, his mannerisms, everything about him makes him stand out, even foolish to those who mick him.
The imagery of wind blowing through a forest is a very subtle insight. Even though he is moving, he is rooted. Psalm 1 like a tree rooted by living waters. The mocking, jeering and finger pointing is compared to screeching winds trying to knock him over. But he keeps going. He neither walks, stands nor sits in the norms of how people perceive him. He just keeps on going.
The coffee shop is a typical everyday happening, but it is the doorway that is important. He turns to the left and to the right to try and fit, BUT he does not bend. It is not in this guys’ thinking to bend to fit in to ext other people think is normal or everyday. When he doesn’t fit, he turns and moves on, accepting that some everyday things are not for him anymore. That he looks different because he is.
The mask is important, but not because he is hiding from others how he feels, but because others cannot understand his ways. To them it is foolishness. The tear is painted by a master craftsman to stand through the ages. It is not for his sadness at how they see him, but at how he sees them.
The witness, the man observing himself, is a piece of self-reflection. He is accepting that this is how it is supposed to be.
The black golf umbrella, an accessory of a professional businessman, is the glimpse and the clue that not all is as it seems. In the midst of him seeming to stand out and be different, he is actually the only one we can see prepared for the coming storm.
This POST is part of a wider collection to show the journey that would eventually lead me to the cross of Jesus Christ, my personal redemption, and my journey of faith afterwards. If you would like to know more of my story, please click on my “About” page and take it from there.
Alternatively, you can visit the Media Links page and see a short visit done by BBC Radio Scotland for an interview I did there.
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