ddrummer realtime

free counters

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Costumed people earn their living slipping from the real world to persuade us to buy moon-cakes,

Imaginary Countries: The Real World

BY MICHAEL SHARKEY
In the real world
lovers part at morning with a kiss
and look back longingly
before they pass from sight.
 
They go insouciant to work
and smile at times;
their life's Vivaldi.
 
Others bring what poetry they can into a life
by counting days
until employment comes again.
They look at cherries in the fruit store and imagine
biting in. They look so good.
 
Children break from singing in the drill hall,
burst outside to toss their frisbees in the park.
A boy plays Satie on the piano;
two Americans embrace
as traffic whispers up the drive.
They are embarking for the real world's farthest shore.
 
In the real world
someone signs petitions
every moment, tidies other people's trash
and greets another who is loved by someone else.
This is how the real world copes with being economics,
mathematics and ecology and botany
and waiting for the bus.
 
Costumed people earn their living slipping
from the real world to persuade us to buy moon-cakes,
supple skin and perfect hair.
We smile to see them aping us.
 
Gymnorhina tibicen swoops low and boasts her turf:
the children run and shout out, 'Magpie'
while the bird recalls the day in mimic song;
order then restored, she dines alfresco on their scraps.
 
And while we watch Magritte's sky turn El Greco,
roofs de Chirico beneath the plastic clouds,
a plane is pasted on a sudden patch of blue.

Michael Sharkey, "Imaginary Countries: The Real World" text fromThe Sweeping Plain, Five Islands Press, 2007; audio from 'Readings from The Sweeping Plain', Audio CD, River Road Press, 2007: by permission of River Road Press and the poet. Copyright © 2007 by Michael Sharkey.

Blog Archive