Poem: The Soldier Drinks (Painting by Marc Chagall, Paris, 1912)

THE SOLDIER DRINKS

(painting by Marc Chagall, Paris, 1912)

 

A samovar is hot with tea

this Paris is hospitable.

 

The times are these

when Marx has challenged capital,

when Fauves are changing color,

and God will come to break back in

the night will spin

and lamps will bend

to streets that blend with space

and no horizon.

 

Soldier on his own

all things are now thrown in

gone is home

packed his case, an artist,

come to Paris,

joined the race, hat thrown in the ring,

He has his gift –

and youth enough to ante up

to put into the game,

and work to see who wins.

 

Black of night outside

and numinous,

snows of white,

the soldier in his cabin,

drinks and tips his hat in memory

to Belarus far gone,

salutes his friend who courts the girls,

a rainbow falling through

a river flowing true to Paris

Paris where they all began

and sitting in his studio

Art is in his hands.

 

 

Webster Young (c)

(from the chapbook:  “Culture”)

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