Sunday, 2 October 2016

Holy Fooling

My blog today is short and sweet - September's swept me off my feet...and apparently, rapid passing of time makes a writer think in rhyme!

Today I had the honour to be present at a very special meeting of clowns.  The Holy Fools - a group of Christian performers who use clowning, mime, puppetry, storytelling and dance in ministry all over the UK - were having their AGM, and I was there to share some storytelling with them.

One of the group's founders, the Reverend Roly Bain, recently passed away, and in the middle of the day, the other Holy Fools shared memories of him in a short service.  He was a wonderful performer and priest.  I only saw him once, years ago in Coventry Cathedral long before I started my own performing, but I remember being fascinated and captivated by his slack-rope routine, which he effortlessly linked to talking about faith.

After hearing the celebration of his life, I began to write a poem as I drove home.  It happens to go to a jazzy tune which was stuck in my head, which probably means that it doesn't scan terribly well, but that's what I get for writing while driving.  I was inspired by the message of the Holy Fools: that God chose the foolish to shame the wise, and that only by becoming like little children can we enter the kingdom of heaven; and though writers aren't necessarily performers, we have a lot in common, aiming to wrap up our message in fun and delight.

Here’s a clown
A holy, lowly one of great renown
A guy who rose up high by falling down
Just like his master
Slowed down to go faster
Pearly gates?
He might have rolled in on a pair of skates
Or walked the slack rope to where Jesus waits
“Come on in ever after
We’re ready for laughter”, he celebrates!

What a show!
The curtain falls, but we don’t want to go
We’d love to keep you, so we’d always know
The secrets of wonder
Seen through each blunder
That’s because
You wore your collar to show who was boss
You turned your cheek and painted on a cross
Now they’ve your repertory
Of clowning in Glory, let’s applause!

Let us play!
We remember that’s what you would say
One change of letter just to prove the way
The wisest are foolers
The servants are rulers
Clowning shoes,
Red noses on, what have we got to lose?
This way of life is for us all to choose -
So let’s be like Roly
Being foolish and holy - spread the news!


  1. Loved this poem, Amy. It brought tears to my eyes. Such an inspiring man, with a wonderful ministry. Thank you.

  2. Brilliant. I saw Roly a few times and went to a workshop day. Never forgot him.

  3. You are very clever with words. A fitting tribute. I never saw him perform but he sounds like a one-off, to me.

  4. My dear Amy, Thanks sooooooooooo much for this poem!!! It brings Roly and all the Holy Fools together!!!! Amen