Roland was a Paladin of Charlemagne, And he was my mother’s cousin. The Paladin Served Charlemagne and died, blowing his horn. The cousin spent a day with her at the fair Over sixty years ago. The great Paladin Enjoys an epic named after him. The cousin is remembered as a big kid Who never grew up. His first
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Tale of Two Cities
Sick as it approaches, sick as it departs.
In fall the hulks of burned out houses stand unrazed.
In winter bearded with fire truck ice they stand unrazed.
The ice cream maker, the piano tuner, the ceramist and tile engraver,—
The belovèd craftsmen turn up killed at their work places.
And the river, stingy, greedy, shrinks and enlarges.
And bumper stickers protest how people like it here. The hated city.
And the loved city? Only at a distance can it be loved.
How else do those mean little squares and boulevards sprouting their haystraw weeds
Become the Champs-Elysées and Princes Street, except in memory?
Shadowy byways and alleys, wildflower chain linked lots
Where a lover turned and smiled and did more than kiss,
And corners where small hilarities gathered, teasing,
But singing in unison,—these map happiness.
The hated city. The loved city. The same city.