Sunday, August 31, 2014

Little Black Man With A Rose In His Hat

What did he have in his wagon?
Five sticks of wood, I suppose;
A melon or two, and a basket of fish,
And a few figs piled on an old cracked dish,
And whatever his berry patch grows.

What did he say to his oxen,
Two small brown oxen with brass-balled horns?
What could he say, when they know so well
The red-earth road and the corner stall,
And the market smelling of peppercorns?

Why was he wearing a rose
Stuck like a flag in his hat?
The hot sun follows, mile on mile,
And the rose will be wilted after awhile,
But he cares nothing for that.

He neither lacks nor demands,
Who expects no more of earth
Than fruit in season and fish in the stream,
And at the end, without doubt or dream,
The casual fact of death:

And so to himself is a god,
Riding an easier throne
Than Jove or Caesar or Humpty-Dumpty,
And the market over, the wagon empty,
Goes back like a lord, alone.


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