Look at the clown. He
unremembered his costume
unremembered his practiced pranks
unremembered who he is;
made his face unreadable,
and, like a king, unafraid of the mess he had made,
unflinching, walked across the stage.
Stood firm, hands folded at his back,
and looked at the audience with a regal look.

Dressed the clown’s words in the costume of the king,
and murmured “Ye,” in all arrogance.
He chewed and crushed each syllable
as he articulated them.

Words were authority-intoxicated,
voice was in the bass without a scale.
The king’s wish was accepted.
The people were happy and elated.
They danced and bowed, bowed and danced.

The king peeped out of the side-wing, just then.
“Look at the buffoon and laugh,” the clown said.
The dumb people of all the twelve zodiac signs laughed aloud.
“I, your monarch, am leaving. Send me off,” said the clown.
Up stood the spectators
and the clown made his exit silently.

When with utmost royal pride the king took his entry
the people roared with laughter.
Clap-clapped their hands and hissed.
When I told the people,
that he was their king,
“You’re a clown,” they shouted.
“Please be serious,
this is not the play I intended,”
I tried to explain.
The audience called me a fool
and made me sit down.

1993