Poems » dario fo » an old sicilian song

A woman crossing the square slips in the mud
and falls head over heels.
Her skirts go over her head
She shows her bum
The fools laugh fit to burst and shout dirty words
The King passes on horseback, the mud makes him slip
The fine beast and the King roll on the ground
and in his turn he shows his bum through his torn breeches.
The fools rush to take off their hats
Only a madman across the way
seeing this new and unfamiliar face of power
can't help laughing his head off.

The fools chorus at the top of their voices -
so as to drown the madman's laughter-
their praise of the great royal bum
'Oh, magnificent cheeks basking in the sun
hailed by God, wonderful spheres'
The fools, because the King has shit himself, for fear,
begin to praise the stink of the noble motion
The madman runs up waving a censer
and sings Te Deum to the King's shit
and plants a jasmine sprig in it.
The fools applaud and then by a miracle understand the jape
and take up stones and sticks
and make to lynch the mocker.
But since they know it is great bad luck
to kill a madman
protected as they are by the pity of St Francis
'the great madman of God'
the fools, impotently watch the pantomime of the madman.
Later at home, in secret, each one by himself
remembers the madman's pantomime and laughs.
They laugh till they pee themselves.
The fools for a moment forget they are
fools but only for a moment
because, alas, madmen are few and far between
and the fools don't get much chance
to see their mad, obscene pantomimes.