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Festivals

At festivals, after midday,
though bagpipes and fiddles
spin a dervish through the air,
and though there is much clapping
and singing, the drug of sun
has made some drunk and drowsy.
I look at the sweet faces
of the surprisingly asleep,
and though there is much clapping
and singing, and dancing,
the sleepers hear only the soundtrack
of their dreams.

This one woman, no longer a girl,
one hand thrown above her head,
flowered dress slightly turned
brown hair falling up off her forehead,
her face as calm as clover.
As though no harm has ever come,
nor ever will, nor was ever
thought of,
and I think the hardest criminal
must look like this asleep –
all wrongs transposed to innocence
by the inner notes of mercy.

Vancouver Folk Festival 14 July 2001

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