A Drama in the Luxembourg Gardens
by Jacques Réda
Between the chestnut trees with nothing else to do
But ponder their chestnuts (how smooth they are, how round)
And the great pond where the rain, too, makes its rounds,
A child has abandoned his toy to pursue
An old, swaggering pigeon. Such a humid day,
So easy to catch a cold — where’s his mother?
Ah, there she is, just leaving her chair to gather
The doubtlessly expensive toy (a freight
Car with an electric motor); she cleans it, lays
It carefully into a bag, then looks at the sky
(Whose capacity of liquid is still quite high)
As it opens in its grayness a little bay
Of phosphorescent blue. So despite the scattered
Showers, she’s sure of the clouds and returns to her seat
As her child, running in shirtsleeves, sneezes.
Every man for himself seems to be her adage.
For her part, she is wearing a long, plushy
Raincoat with matching hairdo of frosty brown
(Not hot like the chestnuts that will soon roll around).
The child suddenly falls and, yapping like a mussel,
Without a shell, remains on the ground. And the lady?
She does nothing but blow her nose with one hand and fly
Around in the air with the other as if at a fly.
When the child gets to his feet, a little bloody
On his left knee, he looks at his mother, who
Looks at him Far off, woodpigeons take flight
Up Saint Sulpice’s towers and two quiet palms, while I,
Witness to this ephemeral drama, don’t move.
What will the two actors remember of this? God knows.
Nothing, maybe. They’ve disappeared. I’m almost inclined
To believe it all just unfolded in my mind.
And while a sunbeam wavers in the random sky,
A lost drop bursts in the middle of my brow.
PHOTO: A pigeon in the Luxembourg Gardens (Paris, France) by Detom1, used by permission.