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Public Holiday: Paris

ISSUE:  Autumn 1958

In the picture the people stroll and stroll all day
By walks and lawns, allécs, by pair and pair,
Or families in bouquets, contained and gay.
The clouds fly out like flags on the volatile air—
I have seen it a hundred times and wished to be there.

There with them in a radiance of parasols
With sky between, ambiance of summer flowers
Where Idleness flutters her sleeves and strolls and strolls
By lake and sail, where sunflakes scatter in showers
And a rose and violet shadow marks no hours.

Now I am there, lit by the idle light,
One with them, held in the day’s glass
Among the spikes of scarlet and flecks of white.
Still beyond reach the holiday people pass.
I am a patch of darkness on their grass

That moves—for I must rise and go away
Now, while their voices ride on the air; alone,
While the brilliant children run in the fountain’s spray;
Before the gathering sun sinks like a stone,
Before the man with the blown balloons goes home.


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