Public Skating

No question:
these days it's bought and sunless hour
in manufactured chill;
exuberance engulfed in plexiglass
and waltz tapes a quarter-century old.
Yet in this breathless busy lunchtime crowd
sure echoes of other afternoons
lived against a farther shore
five hundred winters back.

In Breughel's eyes
whole villages spill out as one
to sport on hard and proximate ponds;
then as now, in twos and threes
people play their gleeful, random games;
couples stroke in perfect tandem
past tumblings boys and spinning girls
and infants swung between parental trees;
they swoop and serpentine and glide
and cut their cold parabolas out of time.

                                                            Abbott Ikeler

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