On a Theme of Matthew Arnold's
Mark J. Mitchell
The scholar gypsy never moved. He stayed
as still as the center of a record.
No sound escaped him and he never prayed.
He held down the same corner everyday
without interest, without being bored—
this scholar’s a gypsy who always stays
just where you leave him and he never strays.
His eyes are gray, solid as a steel door
That keeps out sound, He never stalks his prey—
They come to him, docile as some new-spayed
puppy. They want to lick the secret lore
off this scholar. Gypsies move. He stays
right there. Women hope to lift him up. They
offer hands, coins, looks like raindrops and more
sound than he can escape. They never pray
like mantises but they hunger for play.
He avoids their elastic powers, ignores
non-scholars. This gypsy will stay,
escaping dead sounds. You don’t need to pray.