Saturday, March 28, 2009


With a black fedora cocked to one side of his head and a plaid scarf knotted round his neck, he sat by the side of the road, playing a trumpet. Years of laughter were crosshatched round his closed eyes and his espresso hands held the glowing gold trumpet with the easy familiarity of one who had long ago mastered his art. No pedestrians on this stretch of road, no coins to be thrown his way, he played full out for no one but himself. Red changed to green and I drove away, but the sight of him wove ribbons of wonder through my thoughts all afternoon, tying up a memory of this favourite poem.


Who are without mercy,
Who confide in trumpet flowers,
Who carry loose change in their pockets,
Who dress in black velvet,
Who wince and fidget like bats,
Who balance their haloes on hatracks,
Who watch reruns of famine,
Who powder their noses with pollen,
Who laugh and unleash earthquakes,
Who sidle in and out of our dreams

Like magicians, like childhood friends,
Who practice their smiles like pirates,
Who exercise by walking to Zion,
Who live on the edge of doubt,
Who cause vertigo but ease migraines,
Who weep milky tears when troubled,
Whose night sweats engender the plague,
Who pinion their arms to chandeliers,
Who speak in riddles and slant rhymes,
Who love the weak and foolhardy,
Who lust for unripe persimmons,
Who scavenge the fields for lost souls,
Who hover near lighthouses,
Who pray at railroad crossings,
Who supervise the study of rainbows,
Who cannot blush but try,
Who curl their hair with corkscrews,
Who honeymoon with Orion,
Who are not wise but pure,
Who behave with impious propriety,
Who hourly scour our faces with hope,
Whose own faces glow like radium,

Whom we've created in our own form,
Who are without mercy, seek and yearn
To return us like fossilized roses
To the wholeness of our original bloom.
by Maurya Simon