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The poet

Today a stranger wrote a poem for me. I was strolling around the neighbourhood, where a huge flea market was flooding the streets with colourful dresses, old shoes, vinyls with French chansons and about a billion other second hand trinkets. My day was already made by just this. Until I heard a familiar sound. The frantically pushing down of letters on a typewriter.

I look up and see a man typing away behind his little desk which consists of nothing more than a round table, a table cloth and the typewriter. A sign next to him reads FREE POETRY. A couple of French speaking neighbours ask what it means. Des poèmes! Gratuits! "Oooh", they yell and take a seat in front of the poet, who looks at them for three seconds and starts typing away.

The poem he delivers is in English, but that doesn’t keep the smile off the neighbours faces as they read slowly and deliciously, savouring every word like food for the soul. They smile brightly, say "zhank you" to the poet and walk off, holding the piece of paper close.

It’s my turn. I sit down and start talking with the poet. It’s hard not to talk with a poet. Or with anyone really. He looks at the neat pile of records sitting on my lap. “What records did you get?” He asks. “Oh, my favourite kind: old, funky, funny music.” He starts typing.

There you go! He offers me the paper and I read slowly, tasting the words in my mouth:


There are people who are to mankind

like music is to all the sounds out there

It’s like you are like everyone

but kind of different

quirky like your taste in music'

I left with the biggest of smiles on my face, and music playing in my head.

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