Thursday, July 23, 2015

Old French Songs (A POEM)

The subway's maybe two stops from here,
But I hear it coming, the thrumming of steel
And the crammed cars of Parisian passengers
Considering their next moves, to dive deeper
Into the human heart or step closer to the door.
There's a shrill whistle too, far off, but close too,
Maybe the grinding of wheels on the rail, 
Or the night shifting gears.

And on the platform, young lovers lean
Into a discussion, serious about joy, 
Intent on words I knew once, but long ago,
Comfortable with intimacy in a crowd.

And climbing into the purple, dusky neighborhood,
I hear crowds at a dozen cafes, glasses dancing
With other glasses, laughter with music, 
And the speeding of taxis, whirling to avoid
Bikers heading home for supper and singing.

In a bar, a satisfied man plays his guitar,
But I notice tonight that he's playing 
Not only with his hands, but with his head,
With his knees, with his belly, with his heart.
And his mates, one on bass, another on guitar,
Meet his eyes with laughter, delight, 
Even the half-closed eyes of prayer.
I'm remembering things I thought I'd forgotten.

And the city sings tonight, old French songs,
Driven by subway cars, whispered by lovers,
Improvised by genius, calling to me from 
A place I've only just found,
But recognize as a tune I sing sometimes
When I'm happy. 

Paris, 23 Juillet 2015