Thursday, 25 June 2020

ON THE SPANISH STEPS, ROME (January 2013)

A MAN THE WORLD PASSED BY



He was sitting in the middle of the Spanish Steps 
bent slightly forward, looking straight ahead. 
Staring in the face of the Void, letting the world know. 
In the ninth of the nine circles of Nothingness, 
making a silent statement. In the rain.

Grey-haired, grey-bearded, perhaps in his early fifties. 
The hood of his jacket not pulled over his head. 
Rain splattering gently on the Spanish Steps
and on his hair. Two members of the Polizia Roma 
a little higher up the stairway, watching him. 

Like one of those performers who mimic statues 
(except for his lack of make-up), suddenly 
he comes to life: an arm reaches out, 
two fingers raised in bored impatience
towards a young love-lingering couple nearby. 

In response to the gesture, which might be read
as disrespectful or begging a cigarette
or disrespectfully begging a cigarette,
the young man, reading kindly, offers one.
The spent poseur fishes a lighter from his pocket.





© Ciaran O'Driscoll 2020 

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