He was a boy when the circus first came to the dust of his West
And twenty years later, he'd spent twenty years as Jocko the Sad
He did slap-stick gags in grease paint and rags and the people
would laugh 'til they cried.
But they never saw past the painted clown mask to the sad, empty
man locked inside.
The trapeze lady swung easy and gracefully, high in the high
Her parents were flyers. The circus was her life. The carny was
deep in her veins.
High in the spotlights in sequins and pink tights, she flew like
a bird in the wind.
The saw dust's on daughter, the strong men who caught her were
all that she brought to her tent.
Jocko worked down with the center ring clowns with a sad painted
smile on his face
And the trapeze lady swung easy and gracefully high in the great
Jocko looked up with a tear in his heart and, Lord, he wished he
For she never looked down at a baggy pants clown who looked up
with love in his eyes.
It was Tulsa, the last stop, the last show of the big top, a
loud, sell-out crowd filled the seats.
They clapped for the walk-around and cheered for the clowns. The
fliers brought them to their feet.
Then a still half-lit match fell in tender dry grass and soon
found the dry saw dust floor.
The flames leaped higher. When the people heard,
"Fire!" they swept like a wave for the door.
Jocko looked up to the top of the tent and a hundred feet from
Swung the trapeze lady, up on the high swing, alone, with no way
to get down.
He ran to the ladder that led to the platform, she cried,
"Jocko, no! There's no time!"
But her quick word of fear fell deaf on love's ear as slowly he
started to climb.
Hand over hand to the high flier's stand, taking the rope that
With one quick look down, the sad circus clown looked up and
took to the air.
Slow then slowly he started to swing, his eyes turned to tears
in the smoke.
Faster then faster and as he swung past her, her strong flier
hands found the rope.
She slipped to the ground as the flames found the rigging and
licked at the rope that he held.
He'd started below when the rigging let go and down to the saw
dust he fell.
She ran to his side and with tears in her eyes, "Oh, no!
Jocko, why?" she cried.
He raised his sad head. "I loved you," he said and he
closed his eyes and he died.
Now, the trapeze lady swings easy and gracefully high in the
great canvass space.
But a place and a time are still etched in her mind of a smile
painted on a sad face.
And she sometimes looks down to the center ring clowns for
someone she never has found.
For she still remembers the time when love came to her wearing
the face of a clown.