Sunday, 6 July 2014

The Artist OR L-I-F-E, Smoke Rings...

As a child, I was fascinated by a tramp who always sat on the same bench blowing smoke rings. People would often pause to watch, and then go on their way without even a kind word for the poor man although a flat cap at his feet would fill with a significant number of coins (various denominations, even the occasional note) as the day progressed.  One day, I asked him why he just sat there blowing smoke rings. ‘Because I can,’ he said. But why, a 9 year-old Roger T wanted to know, did people give him money?  ‘Because they can’t,’ he said.


Every day for years…
a tramp sat on a wooden bench
on the edge of town, writing up its life
in smoke rings

Passers-by were privy
to profiles of have-a-go heroes
for peace and love, war and hate, etched
in smoke rings

Audiences would gather,
see-feel wrong moves and right,
failures and successes, catching them out
in smoke rings

Smiles and laughter
(public fronts for private truths)
last seen grabbing at defence mechanisms
in smoke rings

Every day for years…
Tramp on Bench, a live sculpture
shaping tell-tale coughs and dragging feet
in smoke rings

Copyright R. N. Taber 2014

[Note: This poem appears in January-June - 'Salvation'-  edition of CC&D magazine published by Scars (US).  For the Scars web page, go to:; for 'Salvation' go to: ]

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