The Confectioners

A strange garden of breads, sweet and unleavened,

is spread beside a row of painted cups;

the shopkeeper’s Assyrian beard is topped

with glinting eyes, like little shards of heaven.

Here, towards evening, over flickering fires,

gathers a throng of lookers but not buyers

to while away the slowly fading day;

fezzes pushed back and tassels all asway,

Kemals engage in serious debates

about their many joys and many hates.

Across the bridge, a stream of painted faces –

a brilliant carnival – flows gaily down the street;

the town is cheered by cars, bleating and racing

through its electric multi-story pit.

And yet the heart by far prefers the sight

of those who bravely scorn time’s heedless flight.