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Coming up Buchanan Street, quickly, on a sharp winter evening
a young man and two girls, under the Christmas lights—
The young man carries a new guitar in his arms,
the girl on the inside carries a very young baby,
and the girl on the outside carries a chihuahua.
And the three of them are laughing, their breath rises
in a cloud of happiness, and as they pass
the boy says, ‘Wait till he sees this but!’
The chihuahua has a tiny Royal Stewart tartan coat like a teapot–
      holder,
the baby in its white shawl is all bright eyes and mouth like favours
      in a fresh sweet cake,
the guitar swells out under its milky plastic cover, tied at the neck
      with silver tinsel tape and a brisk sprig of mistletoe.
Orphean sprig! Melting baby! Warm chihuahua!
The vale of tears is powerless before you.
Whether Christ is born, or is not born, you
put paid to fate, it abdicates
                                     under the Christmas lights.
Monsters of the year
go blank, are scattered back,
can’t bear this march of three.
 
–And the three have passed, vanished in the crowd
(yet not vanished, for in their arms they wind
the life of men and beasts, and music,
laughter ringing them round like a guard)
at the end of this winter’s day.

from The Second Life (Edinburgh University Press, c1968)

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