Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Image borrowed from Bing


The oldest mask we are aware of
was made of stone in the pre-ceramic
neolithic era.

I remember the freedom
an actor feels while wearing a mask.
My group in college performed a
commedia del’arte play, with me
playing Il Dottore struggling to revive
a stricken Arlecchino.

They say El Santo never removed
his mask, even after retirement,
being reluctant to relinquish
his hero status; only showing his
face briefly in public when he was
very old, and was buried wearing
his silver mask.

Native American and Inuit ceremonial
and ritual masks always frightened me
as a child, and every kind of mask,
from every corner of the globe
was a revered ancestor to clowns,
and their painted faces--even today
many of us still fear a clown.

Glenn Buttkus

July 2011

Listed as #62 over on Magpie Tales 74

Would you like to hear the Author read this poem to you?


Tess Kincaid said...

It's funny, I adore masks of all kinds (maybe that's my Native American DNA speaking) but, like so many, I dislike clowns. Long childhood story. giggle

Jo Bryant said...

Really interesting - I find that clowns freak me out somewhat behind their painted masks. :)

Arne Zaslove said...

I have a replica of that stone mask that a sculptor copied from a pre-historic original. Very heavy with round eyes wide open. Another one exists with the eyes tightly shut. Very close to the Neutral Mask in a state of dawning awareness. The beginning of “thinking” I assess. Too bad we still do it.


Judy Mauer said...

I do. I hate clowns!!
Hope you are getting better.

Paul Bauck said...

Very nice. Thought provoking.

And today some of us wear a mask that is less tangible, but that covers our real selves just as well.