Venus and Mars

Some people miss the polyphony of airports,
some the hand upon the shoulder.
The picnic ground is open only to the pigeons.
The perfume shop, the chic boutique
are closed for business. Another day is cancelled
behind the thick walls of Spain, in the bell towers of Italy.
Aviators miss the clouds and because everyone is gone
the town fox on walkabout stops to nose around,
shake her coat that the streetlight shows is brown.
There is time to count old mistakes,
to learn the tricks of solitaire.
The conductor dressed in black waves his baton
from a balcony where a night of rain has left damp air.
His one-man show has an audience shunning one another,
keeping apart like Venus and Mars.

Gerard Smyth