• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 11
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Harps and Gas Masks

An oxymoron – angels and gas masks.
Or lovely young girls playing for shrapnel
at weddings – ignored by the guests.

Rapunzel beings with streaming tresses.
Tangling fingers viciously caught in the strings
of their exquisite instruments – delicate dainty digits.

Eliciting notes to make angels cry and long
for a welcome sabbatical from heaven.
To swoop down and bless their bowed heads.

Troubadours playing on street corners.
A cap or a receptacle at their feet for gold coins.
They should be so lucky – or a benevolent stranger,

may wander past and sprinkle their day with gold dust.
They assiduously wear their Government issued gas
masks to protect the sensibilities of the populace from

the pollution of homelessness or neediness.
Or contagious hopelessness from performances that
did not materialize, sealed up in their music – a protective

china carapace of broken dreams, dysfunctional
lives chipped away by circumstances and desperation.
Where musical notes are their solace and salvation.

‘I sleep in the loading bay of a supermarket,’
said the young guy cheerfully as shoppers sauntered by
in the late September sunshine on their way home,


Harps and Gas Masks

to non-loading bays but real bricks and mortar shelter
from life’s storms – soldered to their smart phones.
Oblivious to the discordant street symphony of despair.