A bird I can’t identify – perhaps a raven
Francophone – marks the intervals of time
distinctly as a metronome.
Bundled in unwieldy jackets, children
chirp and run; they climb and slide, ride
painted steeds caparisoned in bright motifs
like chargers in a tournament at Carcassonne.
The only silent onlooker, a grey statue of Berlioz
depicted in an attitude of listening, looms paternal
and austere, his cloak a mite the worse for wear.
If he were to come to life, those features, serious,
intent, might register the sounds of children
playing without tears, their mothers’ morning
chatter, audible through grind and clash of gears
as garbage trucks reverse and brake outside the green
iron palisade, interspersed with vernal
cherry trees about to bloom.
One small boy, whose bonnet is a russet
foxy head with ears, holds three women hostage
with a tantrum they cannot appease.
Deaf to this cacophony, amplified by ruckus
from construction in full swing across the thoroughfare,
Berlioz looks on, impassive, lost in music
of the spheres, a stranger from another world
amid the babble of the square.