Friday, February 3, 2017

Playing in the Square

Beauty is not who you are on the outside, it is the wisdom and time you gave away to save another struggling soul like you.
~Shannon L. Alder

Hubble Watches Super Star Create Holiday Light Show, NASA

How can we save ourselves and each other? Among the many ways we can find (and soothe) our best selves are poetry, music, and all the arts.

"Playing in the Square" was originally published in the Infoxicated Corner Spotlight Series at TheThe Poetry and is being reposted with permission of the author. Thanks, Chen!

Playing in the Square
by Chen Chen

It could happen like this: we rush out of the station,
late for work, & find a small band playing in the square.
Been playing in the square all morning! they shout to us.
& with winsome smiles, urge us to join in, handing us
instruments. & somehow, we’re taking them—
an accordion for you, a fiddle for me.

& more people stream out of the station.
Been playing in the square all afternoon! we shout to them.
& with kind mischief in our smiles, call them
to join in, rolling out more instruments. & somehow,
an old woman with beautiful fingers takes up a clarinet,
a sad-eyed boy becomes our fourth bassist.

& people pour out. Been playing in the square
all evening! & we have instruments
ready. & we begin to spill, the square
stretching strange as an octopus. & the children vote
in favor of dancing, & dance. & somehow,
a stray bulldog becomes our main percussionist.

& doctors treat people without charge.
& mothers laugh with their sons.
& neighbors argue with passion, but no one goes hungry.
& some even fall dreadfully in love. We’re playing
in the square all night!
& the night joins in,

the moon in its borrowed suit of gleam,
the stars & planets finding their spots
a bit clumsily, foolishly—
they each take up their ancient instruments
& spin their amateur bodies, somehow remembering
the music, the movement.


Another Chen Chen favorite of mine is "The Professor of Russian Studies."

Penny Parker Klosterman has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Penny!


Brenda at FriendlyFairyTales said...

I want to be that stray bulldog. What a great world exists in this poem.

Kay said...

I want this vision to take flight as more and more of us join in playing musing in the square. In many ways I find that these Poetry Fridays have a similar effect.

Penny Parker Klostermann said...

Love this! Music, poetry, and art transform.

jama said...

What a beautiful affirmation of life and humanity in this poem, Tabatha! Love "the moon in its borrowed suit of gleam." We must keep the ripple effect of kindness and togetherness in mind more than ever. Good feelings are contaigious. :)

Tara said...

I want to play in that square - it sounds like a place of peace and hope.

Linda B said...

You've shared just the perfect way to spend our Friday, playing along, smiling with everyone. Thanks, Tabatha.

Jane @ Raincity Librarian said...

Oh beautiful!

Robyn Hood Black said...

Yes - as Tara said, don't we all want to join in? Thanks so much for sharing, Tabatha.

Linda Mitchell said...

This poem is so inviting. I can picture this and I can hear this....I want to be this!

"the moon in its borrowed suit of gleam," that line, that line is so gorgeous. Thank you for Playing in the Square and inviting us in. You are a friend to poetry and poets all ---handing out instruments from the square of your blog.

Have a great week! I so enjoyed the visit.

Keri said...

Let's hear it for kind mischief. :-)

Sally Murphy said...

Musical mayhem. I love it!

Mary Lee said...

Ahhh...the poem is working its magic. I feel happier just having read it! Maybe someday, I'll come across that square and join in!

Diane Mayr said...

How many times have I walked by a street music group and wished not only to listen, but to join in, too. This poem is delightful and lets me understand that joining in is possible. Thanks, Tabatha!

Bridget Magee said...

I want to be in Chen Chen's square dancing. No one would want to hear me play an instrument. LOL Thanks for sharing this joyful poem, Tabatha. =)