Tone Picture

Poem By Jean Starr Untermeyer

(Malipiero: _Impressioni Dal Vero_)


Across the hot square, where the barbaric sun
Pours coarse laughter on the crowds,
Trumpets throw their loud nooses
From corner to corner.
Elephants, whose indifferent backs
Heave with red lambrequins,
Tigers with golden muzzles,
Negresses, greased and turbaned in green and yellow,
Weave and interweave in the merciless glare of noon.
The sun flicks here and there like a throned tyrant,
Snapping his whip.
From amber platters, the smells ascend
Of overripe peaches mingled with dust and heated oils.
Pages in purple run madly about,
Rolling their eyes and grinning with huge, frightened mouths.

And from a high window- a square of black velvet-
A haughty figure stands back in the shadow,
Aloof and silent.

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