Lessons from a Fool
First make them laugh; then you can put your hand out.
People don’t mind the fee if something’s funny.
Still, with the wrong crowd, even jokes that panned out
twenty times before will earn no money.
A pratfall could pay off, if you’re the prat
who falls. Don’t peddle insight or redemption
to lofty folk too smug for laughing at
themselves. They’ll claim a personal exemption.
Never allow your mask to slip, revealing
the sadness that the jests conceal. Your role
is to be laughed at, not to laugh. You know
humor affords a brief reprieve from feeling
anxious or depressed, but who’ll console
the fool? The bottle’s your only friend. Heigh ho.

Susan McLean

If you have any thoughts on this poem, Susan McLean would be pleased to hear them.