The Crowd

 

With the great BOOM! of the cannon,
The race is begun
And the front runners
Appear around the bend

Their steps springy
With the energy of cool morning
And excitement
For the novelty of a first visit
For a return to a familiar fantasy,
For whatever the day will hold.

A little uncertain
Of the course
On this first lap
Yet gamely hiking
Up the hill
Heads swiveling as they come
Taking in the sights along the way

At the hill’s crest,
They stop a moment
Consulting the crinkly paper in their hands,
Looking around,
Pointing,
Orienting,
Continuing down the other side
Talking and laughing with each other.

The next lap is more purposeful,
Errands to run
Shows to see,
Schedules to observe,
No two courses the same
As the day’s race is run,
A crazy dash from morning to night
A competition with the clock
To see and experience
As much as possible
In the limited time of a single day
In a land as ephemeral
As Brigadoon.

By the heat of afternoon,
The steps have slowed,
And drag a little,
The laps and the magic
Wearing a bit,
Wives snip at husbands,
Children get cranky,
Eyes glaze over
And yet they continue,
Sandals,
And sneakers,
And high-heeled pirate boots
Scuffing along
Raising clouds of dust
That add to the weariness,
To the sense of endurance
Required to stay in the race

But then the thunderstorms come
Scattering the crowd
Sending them scurrying
For cover under the overhangs of buildings
While fat droplets dampen down the dust
Cool the air
And refresh the racers
For the final go ‘round.

As the golden rays
Reach under the heavy clouds
Making the dripping branches
Glitter like gemstones
The people set off once again
In search of that one last purchase,
Of the final show,
Of the seminal experience
That will crown their day

And with the great BOOM! of the cannon,
The race is over,
Weary legs make their way to the front gate
To the finish line,
To their cars,
To the lines of congested traffic,
To the highways,
And to their beds,
Where knights and jesters,
Kings and beggars and faeries
Will visit them in their dreams.
©2016 Annette Meserve

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