Someone is being operatic here,
Beside the garden off the coffeehouse.
We all were sitting and admiring rocks
And greenery and yellow dahlias
When suddenly, from over the east wall,
Came warbling a wildly ranging voice—
Some Carmen or Aida holding forth—
Thick with feeling to indecency.
It is disruptive; there’s no doubt of that.
But part of me is wistful after it—
Not the skill or beauty of the voice,
Though that’s a point of envy, sure as sure.
But it’s her recklessness I really want—
Singing opera over garden walls,
Beauty rattling a tamer beauty—
A voice to discompose the dahlias.
I’d like to think that singer could be me.
Instead I sit, and sip at lukewarm tea.
Editor’s Note: The conversational tone of this poem draws the reader inside the narrative with ease (because who among us has not felt the same combination of envy and admiration?).