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It’s been a while since I wrote poetry, but then the opening lines came into my head and I came up with this pseudo-Shakespearean offering. Enjoy!


The Button Song

Tell me the company you keep

And I will tell you what you are

The Charlatan said to the Troubadour:

The things that trouble your sweet sleep,

Your dreams of troubling a star.

Your fortune, sir, for a penny a look!

Do you dare to see what Fate’s writ in her book?

Dear sir, you think you know me well?

The Troubadour said with mild contempt.

You think I dance for the sake of my bells,

With face grotesque and look unkempt.

I play for the people I see every day:

Yet never I’ve played for the same people twice.

Some prefer beer, some Chardonnay:

And for some will a glass of milk suffice.

Can you label my friends as you’d label a jar?

Can you tell the potters apart in a bazaar?

Do you think you know each human heart

When their owners themselves their depths do not plumb

And each of them their fears, and their starts;

The torrent of speech and that strikes them dumb.

Men are not buttons, nor are they their works.

Women are not apronstrings, mere wives, or berserks.

I’ve seen dreams more original in your streets

Than many the dreams of kings;

And the orphan’s throat hums many a note

That peacocks cannot sing.

And a feather I wear in my cap, good sir,

And a song I bear in my heart,

A simple life for the Troubadour,

And a truer—forgive me if I seem tart.

But I love my simple life, dear sir,

And I would not change it again,

No matter the fortune you read for a fur,

No matter my own secret pain:

And for you, fortune-teller, I’ll leave my advice:

Make a study of the poor and the meek,

Ignore your dreams of avarice,

And finally, begin to seek.

And now, dear sir, I’ll wish you good day:

The road my friends walk now calls me away.