Globes of gold amber light, walls of terracotta –
each table decked with orange red sunflower –
opening with arch divides the space in half,
permits both privacy and social exchange.
The feeling is of ease with softened accents,
dark-stained chestnut boards bracket to wall
provide the shelves for special sorts of wine
labelled in white, dark red, red-bronze or coloured print.
A youthful couple in love recalls life’s start.
Two older pairs flash years of warmth and friendship.
A party mixed in age and six in all:
they talk, alive, with jokes rejoice, at ease;
they shake the waiter’s hands as friends when leaving.
Rimming the room are books on Art and Song,
on New York Noise, Popular Culture, Jazz.
This town saw Dante’s death, Roman demise –
it’s fit low tables hawk a host of calendars –
mosaic tours, lectures and concerts, the churches.
Serious tomes lay here and there, and jokers:
Georges Simeon, Irene Nemeretski,
Harold Bloom’s unabridged Western Canon,
Bologna’s “Archeological Research”
or Alan Bennet: Art, and photo album
by Woody Allen - culture high and low
The turquoise green-blue sea is landwards borne.
On mottled grey stone-pebbled beach basks sun.
Rivulet streams, that sage seaweeds adorn,
congrue in fields of chalk, to join the downs
with sea, and sheer white cliffs descend to mark
where waves and stone year round claw land.
In chalk lie layered flints, black and dark,
set fast as chain – seem cursive, writ by hand –
where time, millennia past, etched residues.
The sun dance-glints the sea and warms the air,
and shines on stone in day-long changing hues
from gold to whitish blue, then red aflare.
This day – for us: complete, serene, and blessed –
nature’s immortal art supreme and silent.
Monte di Verita
The distance shrouds the lake not lit, in black,
nearby its face reflects clear blue the sky.
The slopes are steep compiled with cliffs of gneiss
whose black is streaked with white and mica specked.
In sun’s bright shine the contrast’s made more sharp
while melted snow makes glisten contoured rock.
E’en birches state the place of dark and light
while reaching tall asserts the vertical.
And cypress too, with feathered boughs deep green,
bright buttoned tight with clustered cones in brown.
Truth heals midway between all chiaroscuro,
stands tall towards heaven’s yearning, to death brings life.
Looking Through a Restaurant Window in Paris
On the Beaubourg catwalk Parisian tourists,
gazelles and elephants of society,
the sporty monocyclist and little tricycles,
pushchairs and the not yet born,
pass by with intentions and goals.
Every now and then there is one
who is falling through the net,
shuffling by, aimless, dishevelled head bent aground.
From inside my fairytale world
and full stomach, I feel concerned and sad,
but not enough to rise from my chair,
except to move next door for an Italian gelati.
Outside, on the sidewalk an old hunchbag tramp
empties his plastic bags of crusts for the pigeons.
Pale blue embroidered evening skirt below.
A lilac satin top that leaves bare white her throat,
looped with bone diamonds inset in cross
that flash bright spark-refracted beams akimbo,
igniting dark where earring facets hang.
Such dress suits well her songs sourced from Baroque.
She makes quick change for nineteenth century songs:
long skirt in blue-flash taffeta, while gauze
shows glimmered sequins’ glint, velvet lapels
are smothered in magenta feather puff.
Might Papageno pique at silver necklace?
And Mozart can rejoice that he lives on.
Then Summertime in pink full-length frilled gown,
light silver-blue silk band now swathes her waist.
Talking with giggles betwixt each song, she smiles.
Cathedral glass at Chichester now dusks.
The white apse floods, red flickers flee from blue;
each movement, pause and gesture well rehearsed.
Next she comes in, cattish, arms-covered cream pink,
embroidered bodice spangled, dangling silver,
piano-top polish reflects her swish,
high notes ringing, sustained like single sound,
with trills, vibrato, strength she out-sings baritone.
Both flounce and flirt in “Some Enchanted Evening”.
Cluny and St. Germain des Prês: Left Bank.
Franklin, Voltaire, Balzac, dine at Le Procope.
The Existentialists aux Deux Magots.
Rodin, Bourdelle, Zadkine, Lachaise have studios,
Brancusi’s atelier at Pompidou.
To Arp, Rouault, Matisse, Braque and Picasso,
I come fifty years too late with two grandchildren,
aged eight, filled up with noise, I-phones and tease.
No more: concerts, opera, chansonnieres.
Ferris wheel and bumper cars are our fare now.
The boat to Eifel Tower, a lift to heaven,
ice cream in pastiche flavours. Guignol, the puppet.
Luxembourg lake with nannies, moms and sailboats
where Catherine de Medici walked Louis.
French movies, learning language – all just noise.
We want rickshaws and bikes on bridge and barges.