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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

and begging.


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.

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© Johnmichael Simon



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