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Left Bank Melody
Meandering through Rive Gauche displays
easels, Parisian landscapes, flowery smiles,
copies of impressionists, we came upon
a group of serious faced teenagers
a fairy circle shaded by the awnings of
a patisserie on one side and a pissoire
on the other.
On shabby violins, flutes, contrabass and
keyboard, they were playing Bach, and captured
by their perfect counterpoint, their gestures
and the way they flashed glances at each other
for prompts, their threadbare jeans displaying
kneecaps, the hat placed there for tips.
I whispered to my partner (soon to become ex wife)
the mother of our three growing adolescents –
“If I could wish a future for my children it would
be something like this” – thinking of Bach.
And with a sniff of upturned (soon to be ex wife’s)
nose she whispered back – “No, for my children
anything but this” – thinking of threadbare clothes
As it happens, one grew up to be tone deaf, the
other became a Chassid and sings psalms in
daily prayer, the third frequents late closing
pubs and often can be overheard humming
a bawdy ditty as he makes his rollicking way
home to sleep it off.
© Johnmichael Simon
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