October Montpellier Morning
On the bandstand backed by textured bushes
the musicians are setting up, languidly,
beside the long, wide avenue of plane trees
turning their greens to gold against the blue.
Silver instrument cases are carried to the small
white van. The double bass is erect with promise
in its gleaming, rich, resonant brown.
The fiddle player arrives, dressed all in black
like the slight, curved case she cradles.
Leads are laid with care across the stage.
Leaves have started to fall.
The lead guitarist cannot wait, sends a slow
bending riff to the bright balloons announcing
the charity stall, hopeful, under its blue shade.
Soon the bench-sleeper will stir
under his grubby table cloth and drink
from the bottle waiting beside him that
was half-empty, but will become half-full.
The drummer has joined, surprisingly softly.
Saturday morning in Montpellier is warming
and unheard, as yet, unseen salt water
is already rising, ballooning uncharitably,
a riff on creeping, sleepy centimetres, to
lap at the lower town, mounting Montpellier.
Terry Gifford, October 2022.