The eyelashes bat like the reel
as the hat signs civility by raised
the brows, roused high in fear or wonder,
lower when facing forbidden plunder.

Hands rub fingers dastardly;
lift pinkie up when masterly;
cup thread-bare arms in blow-coat cold;
cuddle shoulders when showing “shy but bold;”
wizen when hope can’t be cajoled,
a roughed carnation in their fold–

And so, heart strings are tugged and pulled
by hands, by brows, by outlined eyes
that flicker beaded joys and sighs,
surprise us with damp lashes’ bat
as we rise and fall by the little hat.

Another draft and slightly dopey poem but this one is for the 17th day of national poetry month and I take refuge in that. I am linking it to the real toads prompt by the wonderful Kerry O’Connor to write of silent movies.

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15 Comments on “Chaplinesque”

  1. janehewey Says:

    your writing style works very well with this man/character/topic. wonderfully picturesque detailing with steady and convincing cadence. I think I’d be able to name Chaplin even without the picture or title. “wizen when hope can’t be cajoled” — I esp. love the last three lines of your second stanza. the whole thing a great read.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks–if you have time, the poem from yesterday is much more important to me–not to push you–this a bit silly, but that one worked out well. Figuring out the downhill. k.

  2. brian miller Says:

    i am intrigued by how expressive one has to be for a silent film…there were very real actors that were not dependent on dialogue to tell the story…an art…

  3. grapeling Says:

    heck, by day 17 I feel lucky to string letters together, let alone stanzas. fun pen, K ~

  4. Steve King Says:

    The little tramp is so iconic, perhaps the greatest member of our movie image pantheon if only because he was among the very first. All it takes is a hint to bring back the sense of him on the screen. You’ve captured those quirks here, engagingly so. By the way, I can’t fathom how you do one of these a day…that’s just an impossibility for me—I’m lucky to get one out a week, and most times not even that!
    Thanks for today’s comment over at my place. No need to revisit my magnum opus…I’m reworking that offline, and may take it off the blog for now. It’s been a work in progress for 25 years, so a few more months won’t matter. Enjoy the country this weekend!
    Steve K.

  5. You description of the art of acting in a silent role is perfect!

  6. Grace Says:

    How expressively alive you have made out of those eyes, eyelashes and pinkie hands ~ Admiring the end verses here K ~

  7. hedgewitch Says:

    I think the humor in this is far from making the poem ‘dopey’ in any way–it’s just the rhymed cadence always seems a bit insipid when we write it–it isn’t so to read. And you are writing about comedy, after all, and classic, eternal comic tropes–it expresses character intelligently and paints that picture that is all symbol, emotion and reaction just as the silent films did one frame at a time, through those evocative expressions and body language–I loved it, k.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha. Thanks. I actually really love Chaplin, though many people insist that Keaton was better, but I find him (Chaplin) incredibly moving at moments, and so so funny. So by dopey I mean that it is a great topic for a poem, but really one that gets at why the films are so very moving–at least to me. I didn’t even try that here except by putting “by” rather than “with” in the last line–as I was thinking of dying by the sword, somehow–and liked it better than “with” but I will think about the bigger subject. Maybe it’s that the story lines are somehow flattened out into pure archetypes and they are hardwired to move us. I don’t know. Thanks. k.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      PS – but maybe “with” would work better any way at the end. I can’t imagine anyone else but me thinks of dying by the sword here or of being lifted or felled by the little hat – so “with” would probably be better.

      • hedgewitch Says:

        No, I like “by”–and I immediately thought of living by the sword.dying by the sword. But even without that, it sounds better–the hat becomes more active instead of passive–I like that.

      • ManicDdaily Says:

        Thanks. Good. I think it is not as throwaway a word -so even if not clear may work. Thanks again for revisiting. k.

  8. Cool write. I especially love the two closing lines.

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