This is a blog about music, photography, history, and culture.
These are photographs from my collection that tell a story about lost time and forgotten music.

Mike Brubaker
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Send in the Clowns!!!

28 August 2015





The Circus-Day Parade
by James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916)

Oh, the Circus-Day parade! How the bugles played and played!
And how the glossy horses tossed their flossy manes, and neighed,
As the rattle and the rhyme of the tenor-drummer's time
Filled all the hungry hearts of us with melody sublime!

How the grand band-wagon shone with a splendor all its own,
And glittered with a glory that our dreams had never known!
And how the boys behind, high and low of every kind,
Marched in unconscious capture, with a rapture undefined!





How the horsemen, two and two, with their plumes of white and blue,
And crimson, gold and purple, nodding by at me and you.
Waved the banners that they bore, as the Knights in days of yore,
Till our glad eyes gleamed and glistened like the spangles that they wore!

How the graceless-graceful stride of the elephant was eyed,
And the capers of the little horse that cantered at his side!
How the shambling camels, tame to the plaudits of their fame,
With listless eyes came silent, masticating as they came.






How the cages jolted past, with each wagon battened fast,
And the mystery within it only hinted of at last
From the little grated square in the rear, and nosing there
The snout of some strange animal that sniffed the outer air!

And, last of all, The Clown, making mirth for all the town,
With his lips curved ever upward and his eyebrows ever down,
And his chief attention paid to the little mule that played
A tattoo on the dashboard with his heels, in the parade.
 





Oh! the Circus-Day parade! How the bugles played and played!
And how the glossy horses tossed their flossy manes and neighed.
As the rattle and the rhyme of the tenor-drummer's time
Filled all the hungry hearts of us with melody sublime!




* * *

There is no date, no place, nor any name marked on this small unmounted photograph.
It was an unexpected surprise to find a detail of youthful faces
reflected in the mirror of this circus clown band wagon
that captures all the wonder, glee, and delight of a circus parade.
 
The poem is by James Whitcomb Riley, (1849-1916)
one of America's favorite authors of children's poetry.

James Whitcomb Riley
10¢ U.S. postage stamp issued 1940
Source: Wikimedia




This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where everyone is on the wagon this weekend.



8 comments:

La Nightingail said...

A perfectly framed picture. That photographer was, as we say, simply in the right place at the right time with a knack for knowing when to 'click'! Neat post. :)

Susan Kelly said...

I doubt we can fully appreciate how amazing it must have been for the circus to come to town.

luvlinens said...

Fantastic Post!

Deb Gould said...

What a great shot that is! The wagon is incredible; the boys reflected in the mirror are clearly having a swell time -- costumes, horses, double reins, etc. All amazing~!

Barbara Rogers said...

Great photo which takes a good eye to find such details, and then fit it to poetry!

Dani Jonsson Lopez said...

I loved loved loved this post! Very entertaining!

Jo Featherston said...

What a great image and poem to go with it. Here's another circus poem you might enjoy, by Australian CJ Dennis:
Hey, there! Hoop-la! the circus is in town!
Have you seen the elephant? Have you seen the clown?
Have you seen the dappled horse gallop round the ring?
Have you seen the acrobats on the dizzy swing?
Have you seen the tumbling men tumble up and down?
Hoop-la! Hoop-la! the circus is in town!


Hey, there! Hoop-la! Here's the circus troupe!
Here's the educated, dog jumping through the hoop.
See the lady Blondin with the parasol and fan,
The lad upon the ladder and the india-rubber man.
See the joyful juggler and the boy who loops the loop.
Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Here's the circus troupe!

Mike Brubaker said...

Thanks, Jo! I like that one and may use it some time for another circus photo.

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