Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE TABLE D'HOTE, by JOHN PAUL BOCOCK



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THE TABLE D'HOTE, by            
First Line: Tis time - ah me! - to change my coat
Last Line: Welcomes me into shadow land!
Subject(s): Dinners & Dining; Food & Eating; Love


'T IS time — ah me! — to change my coat
And sally forth for a table d'hote,
Alone; although I'd love a Sally,
Alas, there is none in my alley.

Beaux-Arts — and bizarre, that's the kind
Of cafe that I have in mind;
En avant — by Shank's cabriolet,
One may meet Fortune on the way.

So, carelessly, I pass along
Musing, amid the bustling throng,
Until I reach the open door
Which welcomes me as oft before.

Here's Louis, with his best salaam:
"Bon soir, monsieur, et vous, madame!
You walked, you say? Then you will be on
Edge for the Saucisson de Lyon?"

So, while the fair white board is spread
With olives, radis, and French bread,
A swift garcon, demure and neat,
Shall bring us Blue Points, toute de suite.

And, garcon, a thin potage bring —
Some sunshine bottled for a king:
A Queen shall christen it this night
With the red lips of love's delight.

A lobster, now, or else a fish,
Done a la Russe, in some small dish,
With truffles and a mayonnaise —
My love loved lobster in those days!

Ici, garcon — an artichoke,
Some reed-birds, or a ruddy duck
Done to a turn, so that the knife
Is followed by the stream of life.

The bottle's done? Woe worth the day
When sunshine slipped so fast away!
Another bring us — "Not too cold,
Nor yet too slender, nor too old."

That was the kind of girl who stole
Hearts, years ago! Yes, escarole,
And some cold chicken! sentiment
And salad aye together went!

A biscuit now; a demi-tasse,
A cigarette; a parting glass, —
L'addition! So from life and light,
Alas, we pass into the night.

For, O fair Love that came to me
Out of the twilight, I shall be
Alone for aye — until thy hand
Welcomes me into Shadow Land!





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