Noted Poet Weds Troubadour

Peering down from his garret
the poet scrutinizes a troubadour
mobbed by crowds of admirers,
their heads like mossy cobbles.
Addressing a fly-spotted mirror
he derides the fickle masses

The troubadour doffs his hat
to the denizen on the fifth floor
whose pallor rivals the moon itself,
but the crowd sweeps him towards
the tavern, where he will sing of
love engendered in a brothel

Poet and troubadour en route
between cities write a ballad
together, the lyrics for which,
scribbled on a tourist brochure,
are trampled underfoot
when their flights board

In his thirst for sublimity
the janitor pockets their missive,
enshrining it upon his mantle,
still in a crumpled state
till a scholar comes knocking,
also a fancier of artist’s debris –

Going down the road
means leaving home;
from the movies a bus
destined for loneliness
stands in the station,
cigarettes holding court

Pumped on diesel fumes,
a throng of boy recruits
off to their first war
jostle good-naturedly;
rebuffing my whisper
of escape routes to canada

That spiny urchins emerge
as ebb tide drains the bottle
is not the troubadour’s concern,
he just wanders the world
tucking new songs under
rocks he stumbles upon

When they part at the airport
travelling in separate directions,
as a fond farewell
they swap lyre for guitar;
call each other by the same name
think well of each other

Back in his garret the poet strums
a lullaby from his mother’s lap
while at the inn the troubadour
plucks a lively tune, catching
the eye of a gypsy woman
who responds with castanets

A note passed under the door
invites both to a conclave.
If you wish to attend
bring beeswax tapers,
but also that lost ballad
you wrote with your friend

Douglas Smith, formerly a teacher of Anthropology at York University, is a homeopathic physician.and author of several books on alternative medicine. It is claimed (although Dissident Voice has no proof of this!) that Doug and his partner grow the best garlic in Haliburton County. Read other articles by Douglas.