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  4. The Marché aux Puces and the Jardin des Plantes by Daryl Hine
The Marché aux Puces and the Jardin des Plantes

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The sight of beauty simply makes us sick:
There are too many hours in the day,
Too many wicked faces built like flowers
And far too many bargains for a song.
Jade and paste, cashmere and ormolu—
Who said that all the arts aspire to music?
It’s obvious, for time is obvious,
That all that art aspires to is junk.

Blackmailed by these mathoms of the past,
One is indebted for another perspective
To quaint giraffes and quainter wallabies,
The nearly human and the faintly monstrous,
The outrageously contemporary joke.
Trespassing on a no man’s territory,
Unlike the moralist one is at a loss
Where to be human is not to be at home.

In a zoo, you see, one can acquire nothing:
Zebras aren’t wishes. Nor is the flea market
Exactly the place for those who know what they want.
Like far out stations on the Metro (which they are)
Somewhere, in heaven perhaps, they correspond,
In the heaven of open arms and unpaid bills,
Where beer is drunk on the lawn all afternoon
And every night we bid, and make, a slam.

Daryl Hine, “The Marché aux Puces and the Jardin des Plantes” from Minutes (New York: Atheneum Publishers, 1968). Copyright © 1968 by Daryl Hine. Reprinted with the permission of the author.
Source: Minutes: Poems (1968)
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The Marché aux Puces and the Jardin des Plantes

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