In The Shoemaker's Shop

[once more, to The Brothers Grimm]

how marvelous it seemed to you then
the cobbler asleep at his bench
too tired to dream

of the work still left to do
the leathern apron's torn
his own shoes full of holes

are fit for scorn
his tools are not the best but
he has hammered gold into slippers

in his time embroidered with
the thread of rose
and never glanced at the clock

painted light green, perhaps with red tulips
all around the edge
a wooden taskmaster with a shrill cuckoo

10 o' clock, the mayor comes at noon
or sooner if there's bad luck
how can one room contain

so much misfortune.
he sighs to his wife
munching a little toast and cheese

as if they were mice.
the snow flying. it is Christmas Eve
the dancers from the pantomime
in valentine tulle tap their toes

impatiently en pointe*
backstage for slippers new,
encrusted with rubies ribbons

in the sheen of cherries
he hasn't seen for breakfast ever.
he slumbers on while

midnight's moon floods the shop
not caring if business is better.
then wonder of wonders and none too soon

the green clock ticks the elves in
one by well-skilled one to cobble
in fairy princess stitching

never seen
the rag tag edges of his dream
he will remember this in daylight hours

mary angela douglas 20 october 2013

Note to Reader: in case you wonder how the ballerinas in red tulle could tap their toes and be en pointe at the same time, remember, this is a dream or just pretend it's Balanchine's choreography (who was always asking the impossible to occur as if it were nothing)

if you're wondering where the punctuation is in the above poem it may be I have my elves too, who skipped the punctuation in order not to be caught (since I get up very early...)

by Mary Angela Douglas

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