Bringing Me Down

It was the most forlorn of towns
where all its people had depression
and shared only their frequent frowns
and their latest therapy session.
They moaned and groaned about each thing
that pained them a little here and there,
acting as if no suffering
was as awful as their own to bear.
They made sport of it, in a way,
trying to outdo each other’s sorrow,
and if they did not moan most that day
they would always moan more tomorrow.
But there was one man in the town
who only liked to crack funny jokes:
Barnaby, the comedy clown
who tried to help all these mirthless folks.
Barnaby always did his best
to get a laugh from his neighbors,
pulling toys from his purple vest
or juggling a bunch of sharp sabers.
One day, however, they found him
hanging dead from a thick, knotted rope,
swaying from the oak’s creaking limb
like a man given up on all hope.
Every townsfolk wondered why
Barnaby had chosen to leave this world,
thinking him too jolly to die
by his own hand with a rope unfurled.
Then they found the angry letter
in his pocket, next to his flower,
and it read, “Things won’t get better
so long as I live here one more hour.
I’m tired of the endless whining
about life, misery, and whatnot,
and I think it quite a fine thing
to end this life quickly and just rot.
You have all been bringing me down
for more years than I should have let you
and I will not be a sad clown;
no Pierrot, so melancholic and blue.”
The townsfolk thought of his last words,
taking umbrage at his swaying shade
as it hung above, with the birds
and the mocking song their voices made.
They left Barnaby up to rot,
thinking that was what he had wanted,
and when they bemoaned their sad lot
they looked at once to him, undaunted.
“We have all been bringing him down,”
they said, smirking at some private joke,
“so we ought to honor the clown
and let him sway above us sad folk.”
Hence, they kept Barnaby aloft
and trembled to see him through the years
as he lost his skin and flesh, oft
grinning at them and their endless tears.