The Night the Curtain Fell

The moonglow on the rooftops,
As I remember well,
Was running down like greasepaint,
The night the curtain fell.

The birds in the piazza
Flew off towards Boot Hill,
And, though their wings were broken,
I hear them flapping still.

The voices in the alleys
Reminded me of those
I’d heard in Solon’s Athens
When all the taverns close.

Some talked of Alexander
And Cleopatra’s cat.
They said they both were Persian.
I’m not so sure of that.

A rain was falling softly –
As thin as any mist –
Upon the Tree of Knowledge.
Where Eve and Adam kissed.

And then I saw Othello
Go down on bended knee.
He picked a bunch of thistles
And handed them to me.

And Lawrence of Arabia
Was wearing Gandalf’s ring,
So, when the lightning struck him,
He didn’t feel a thing.

I never thought the palace
Was all it’s said to be.
I mean it had nice gardens.
That’s all if you ask me.

The roses round the windows
Were stained with virgins’ blood,
And, in the royal orchards,
Ripe plums dropped with a thud.

The library was burning,
But books aren’t made to burn,
Unless the ones who wrote them
Can give them half a turn.

I followed Sancho Panza
To where two rivers crossed,
And every game of solitaire
I played that night I lost.

Snow White and Rumpelstiltskin
Were sleeping in a ditch.
I noticed one was snoring
But can’t remember which.

And Mary Magdalena
Was cutting children’s hair,
The hour the Red Sea parted,
But Moses wasn’t there.

I’m leaving in the morning –
The force of nature calls –
But I’ll be back tomorrow,
When next the curtain falls.

Photo by Nikola Bikar on Unsplash

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