The title is ironic as we assume as readers that a clown is funny, and the punk is scary. This can be seen as an oxymoron as the idea of “clown” and “punk” contrast each up.

What is it about:

The poem is about the poet (Simon Armitage) interaction with this “clown punk”. He talks about ideas about societies views of the “clown punk” and the his overall image and appearance. We are given the image that the poem is in a car with his children and this clown punk comes up to the window.


  • The poem contains factual information such as “three times out of ten” (line 2), this makes the reader engage more with the poem as it makes the poem and the “clown punk” seem more realistic.
  • He also uses a simile, “like a basket of washing…” (line 3), which implies that the clown punk is dirty and needs cleaning like dirty clothes. Furthermore it could mean the clown punk morally needs to be clean, for example it could show that the punk needs to change his attitude in society. This could be because punks were known to have wild appearances such as tattoos and coloured hair, they were also known to cause trouble.
  • Simon Armitage also writes “slathers his daft mush” (line 12), this gives the impression that the poets view of the clown punk is negative. However the clown punk doesn’t criticize the clown punk showing that he wants the reader to form their own opinion. The word “slathers” gives the impression that the clown punk is quite creepy and drags his feet when he walks. The word “daft” could show the writers view of the clown punk. It implies that Armitage thinks that the clown punk is “daft” or disagrees with his morals.


  • The poem is a sonnet as it has 14 lines. However, this is ironic as sonnets are usually associated with Shakespeare and are normally about love. The irony is shown in the poem as it is not about love at all, as it talks about the clown punk which is not loved as he is an outcast in society.
  • In the second stanza the poet writes “don’t laugh:”. This is ironic as people are suppose to laugh at clowns. The punctuation “:” is also different as most poems do not have this type of punctuation. This could show that the clown punk is also different just like the poem.

Feelings and ideas:

The poem challenges societies views and can be seen as a warming the poets children.