Poem -

observation

observation

I was sitting by the window 
of a cafe near the harbour
when I heard an old curmudgeon
with a cane walk through the door

He was stilted – he looked tired
as he uttered to a woman
with eternal youth – (desirous) –
in a sundress and high heels

They sat – he kept on talking
in a whisper (he looked livid)
then she took her shoes off  
and lit a cigarette

They both ignored the waiter –
he’d walked over to inquire
as the man reached for his wallet
and threw a note up in the air

Suddenly I saw a woman,
holding an umbrella –
she opened it and closed it
many times

This caught my attention as the day
outside was stifling and rainclouds –
though forecast – had been beaten
by the sun

Take my umbrella would you;
she demanded of the waiter
all the while on her phone
speaking in a high-pitched voice

But you must; she said, I urge you
there’s no way to get around it...
hmm - coffee, flat white, with two sugars;
she brushed him aside like stone

In the corner of the cafe
was a couple (well, I thought so)
a man wearing glasses
and a woman with red hair

He held the daily paper firmly
his face hidden in its pages
she – indelibly entrenched
with a book up to her nose

Imagine them at home
across the table shared
at breakfast – what terms
of endearment (if any)
may be heard

I looked out the window
was I alone in seeing the sunshine
dancing on the water like a statue
basked in summer’s lone parade

What occupied the minds of others –
ignoring what’s before them –
suffering in silence
as vitality was lost

What stories one created
from strangers within cafes and
in restaurants – people I had
never met who kept me entertained

One’s thoughts and one’s imaginings
take on a life all of their own
and build a make-believe one
from the ground

I started strolling slowly
to the counter where I paid –
and glanced at the young man
who had served me – he looked
supremely free

Did he share my interest
in the people at their table(s) –
travails and emotions –
familiar animation

To never know but wonder
is the joy of observation.
 

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Comments

author
lodigiana

What a  joy to read this ! I could spend hours ( and sometimes do!) just observing human kind..put me on a crowded train, buzzing cafe, sundrenched beach..and I become transfixed by the actions,conversations, and presence of man interacting with man or just being themselves.You have captured this silent observation so well in your piece and it was a pleasure to read. Lodigiana x

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author
Owen James

Thank you so much for your lovely, kind words. It was a joy to read them. 
The poem was inspired by my love of Suzanne Vega's music, specifically the song 'Tom's Diner'. The lyrics are poetic, a masterpiece of writing, to be sure.
Take care and best wishes to you.
Owen x

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