Constantly risking absurdity and death (1-2)
An artist can't predict his audience's reaction to his work. If they laugh at him, not only might he feel "absurd" but his career may also face its own "death." No guarantees, no freebies, but plenty of absurdity and death. Comforting, right?
the poet like an acrobat climbs on rime to a high wire of his own making (6-8)
It's a slippery slope once the poet begins that climb toward Beauty. And all the while, he knows he's responsible for everything that goes on in his work. So if he falls, that potential "death" is also of his "own making."
a little charleychaplin man who may or may not catch her fair eternal form (30-32)
This guy's just as silly as the rest of us. He might even be sillier, considering that his entire profession rests on the possibility of risking "absurdity and death." But if he catches Beauty's "fair eternal form" all the danger is well worth it.