The Peddler (2010-2012)

December 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

The Peddler*
I saw a man upon the street
A Peddler – our eyes did meet
As I passed the man he sighed
Then he raised his head and cried:
“Come one, come all! Admire my goods –
The finest in the neighborhood.”
Soon enough a crowd had come
to behold the works the man had done.
What had begun as a curious tide
Seeking the marvels the man’s words implied
Soon became a flurry of mumbles
Slanted, incensed eyebrows, grumbles.
“Show us something! A piece of art,
A woven cloth, some whittled wood!
At very least explain what good
It is to push an empty cart.”
The man remained there stood.
He lowered down his hood
Then reached down to a hidden part
Straight to the bowels of his cart
And out he fished a little piece
Not much there to behold
A common-looking (with a crease)
Folded paper of faded gold
The first catcalls began to resound
As the crowd realized it’d been had
But it wasn’t gloom that could be seen around
This old fool’s antics had made them glad
Now they could laugh at him, pointing, and jeer
And no one would tell them to stop
Because he was the idiot here
Mind as slim as a string of a mop.
Still others of an ilk more restrained
Tried to take the whole milieu in
Then find out what was contained
On that sheet that’d been written on with pen
They passed no judgment but secretly hoped
That it did really turn out to be some bad joke
What the Peddler had said and done
Was probably only for fun.
Could he truly in earnest speak
He who limped with both of his feet?
Some stragglers stayed by to view
As he, slowly and with great care
Unfolded the paper a time or two
All the while heaving great gasps of air
His heart was clearly moved
(For the bad or for the good –
By someone he had loved..?
Or else, never understood?)
He savored every word
They were to him morsels divine
First line, then second, then third,
Growing drunk on love’s pure dry wine.
Not a one could read the text
Before he’d shoved it in his cart
He’d awakened, as if from a hex
Made toward the road like a hobbling dart
I was the last to watch him leave
I feel sure I’ll always believe
That peddler knew just what his life was about
Even if others just looked at him down their snout
© Joshua Owens
*You can listen to an audio recording of this poem here.
The first sixteen lines of this poem were composed in 2010. I completed the rest about three weeks ago. Here’s the original:

poem, poetry

The handwritten original


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