Charlie Chaplin Impersonates a Poet

The stage is set for imminent disaster.
Here is the little tramp, standing
On a stack of books in order
To reach the microphone, the
Poet he’s impersonating somehow
Trussed and mumbling in a
Tweed bundle at his feet.

He opens his mouth: Tra-la!
Out comes doves, incandescent bulbs,
Plastic roses. Well, that’s that,
Squirms the young professor who’s
Coordinated this,
No more visiting poets!

His department head groans
For the trap door. As it
Swings away

The tramp keeps on as if
Nothing has occurred,
A free arm mimicking
A wing.

Cornelius Eady, “Charlie Chaplin Impersonates a Poet” from Autobiography of a Jukebox. Copyright © 1997 by Cornelius Eady. Used by permission of Carnegie Mellon University Press.
Source: The Autobiography of a Jukebox (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1997)