Academic journal article Transnational Literature

The Hunchback in the Park Watching Dylan Thomas

Academic journal article Transnational Literature

The Hunchback in the Park Watching Dylan Thomas

Article excerpt

With his heavy brown coat,

a solitary thread

caught on the edge of the bench,

he drinks from a dark bottle

pulled from an inside pocket and sits

through the cold afternoon, watching me

(as if I wouldn't notice or mind).

How the pond takes the sky in,

the wonder and shuffle of ordinary

pigeons, even the way the keeper nods

a discreet tolerance my way-

our mister hasn't noticed.

With the elms, he plants himself down.

With the leaves, he sinks into the ground.

A solitary mister, he seems to mutter

into the wind, hunched over

his ragged notebook, alone in his watching,

looking away when I catch his eye.

He has the eyes of a thinker

and a drinker-and I'd know

(though he doesn't know me).

I read the philosophies of the dead

leaves, slow snails, young ducks,

old water, and their insights I keep

to myself. Many figures come

here and go-the dark-suited

and stiff men, wet dogs snuffling

in their honesty, children with hand-me-down

cruelties and language games, nurses

on lunchbreaks with tender eyes-

none of them without fault. …

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