Friday, November 7, 2014

Le Salut (Delvaux), Sonnet #211

The ball and pyramid finials rhyme
With the snow-topped volcano far away.
The streetcar has arrived almost on time.
Its one rider escapes into dark woods.
A gent tips his bowler, as if to say,
To his muse, "Thanks for a peek at the goods."
She raises her left hand to draw him near;
Does she desire to stroke or slap his cheek?
Great muses are naturally unclear
In their gestures. Is it art or love they seek?
In each window on the street a model
Poses for any artist to ogle,
But there's no one else but the gallant gent,
Whose inspiration is already spent.

I've walked this street for so many years.
Always the windows are unoccupied,
And where the robe-draped muse stood beckoning
To others, turning blind men into seers,
I find broken flagstones some mole has pried
From below, and a tired old man, yawning.
I've heard the volcano grumbling, hissing,
And from somewhere padding of unshod feet,
Seen the gent's bowler rolling down the street,
And asked myself, "Is it me that's missing?"
The streetcar is late. Now I understand!
I run and reach it as it comes to rest.
The rider, a child, offers me her hand
And leads me away, into the forest.

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