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Poems for the People   -  Poems by the People

About the Poem

Society can be cruel. What "society" will accept is nominally judged by the masses and already accepted as "normal" by the masses. But what of those who are different? This poem is about the "Freak Shows" that used to travel the United States in the 1920's and 30's. The characters mentioned are real people that society labeled "freaks" for being different, a practice that still goes on way too much today.

Carnival Of Guilt

I was greeted well enough at the door,
Giving my ticket to the clown.
I saw attractions by the score,
Still, none seemed to slow me down.

I heard laughter all around me,
Yet, I felt a silent jeer.
No, it didn't take me long to see-
I was not welcome here.

Heads were turning, eyes were burning,
Suddenly, all laughs were gone.
Only silent glares and my stomach, churning
In repulsed fear, pushed me on.

I walked faster, yet so did they,
What this horde wanted, I did not know.
Running to the nearest door on my way,
I found myself at "The Freak Show".

Sneaking backstage, in hopes to hide,
I saw a two- headed man in a fight-
Against himself, each head taking a side,
And neither side was right.

Both looked at me, without words being said,
Each pointing their given hand to a door.
Smiling, as if somehow my thoughts they read,
They knew what I was here for.

Walking inside, with what I saw-
Thought, defunct, my human eyes.
Though inside I was struck with awe,
I tried not to show surprise.

A four legged woman walking-
With a man who had no legs at all,
Living, loving, laughing and talking-
As if he stood ten feet tall.

A bearded lady singing, soft in tone-
To a man with two noses.
A man so skinny he looked to lack bone-
In the mirror, practicing poses.

I stood, amazed, at the shapes he took,
As my misdirected thoughts ran.
It seemed he could make himself to look-
Like anything but a "normal" man.

As if sensing my questioning mind,
A boy approached, beginning to speak.
Saying, "Stay, safely, here awhile, you will find-
The answers that you seek."

I looked down, seeing each arm without hand,
But pinchers like a lobster, instead.
He said, "There's things the world won't understand-
That can be grasped, here, full- fled. "

He gestured to a snake-skinned man-
And said, "Beauty, truly is in the eye.
Viewed by the world, a charlatan,
Won't you give the magic mirror a try. "

So I stepped over and took my view,
Beheld a man without a face.
It was suddenly so clear, I knew-
I had finally found my place.

And every night people stop just to stare,
And maybe we raise their self-esteem.
Some pity us, thinking it's not fair-
Some think we're just here to scheme.

But I recall the other side, I know-
What leads you to jeer and jilt.
And what you see as "The Freak Show"-
Is just your carnival of guilt.
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© 1999 Michael Anderson Please respect the rights of the author and Passions in Poetry. If you would like to use this poem on your own web page, please contact the Author. Thank you.

7 Visitor Comments

i absolutely love this poem. why do i like it? well i dont think the words i could say would give it justise but i can try. it puts all the people who have abnormalties or difigureations into perspective and allows you to view them as a real person who has feelings and thoughts too. it allows all the people who have ever made fun of any one like that to realize how crule they have realy been and feel the burden of guilt in 10 fold im not trying to say im perfect or anything because i too have done the same but this poem made me feel very ashamed and aware of how shallow i have been and if you ask me if the poem could do that to me it could do it to any one and deserves to be published 100 percent of the way. so i just wanted to express just the extent of my appreciation for this poem
WOW! Very good poem! That last line really serves a strong punch. Curiosity, discomfort, surprise and 3 cheers! This poem took me through a range of emotions. I LOVE IT! PLEASE keep up the good work!
I love this poem. It goes with all sorts of issues being different (mentally, or physically). People are sucked into what the tv, magazines, or radio tell you you should look, act, and think like. When really they are the weirdos, for they are like everyone else. they will never have their own opinion, for it has already been made by someone else. You should find yourself, and think out the box. Do what you think is best for you, not what other people want. Dont be a follower, be a leader-even if its just for you. when people stare and laugh, its only because their nieve, and scared to be different. They walk with the herd, when you walk the short cut. Be yourself!
Right on, Michael! More people need to understand how being 'normal' is purely relative.
WOW! That is an awesome poem. It's very deep and truthful. Keep up the wonderful work. You have much talent.
I'm not usually into positive poems, but this one jumped out at me.
this poem is one of the best i've heard in a long time...i understand it completely...

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