Only light in the house beams on him, showing
Pindrop poise before the wall of noise moment;
There's quite a din before he falls on his sword.
Didn't someone say words are swords?
Tears flow. Last thing he sees is his life flashing
Before his eyes. Last things he hears are the vast
Basso of the cannon going off, his swift
Whistling explosion out of the barrel,
The lion tamer's laugh, the strange ballistics
As he soars over the highwire walker's pole
And out through the hole in the tent peak.
Heaven sent on this grim mission, he creates
A diversion that lasts till intermission,
Then jumps on his comic tricycle and rides.
The White Clown: Walt Kuhn, 1929 (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)