Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE JOY-VENDER, by ABBIE FARWELL BROWN



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THE JOY-VENDER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Giovanni carbone, lame and old
Last Line: And your breezy stand, when the day is sunny.
Subject(s): Salespersons; Selling


GIOVANNI CARBONE, lame and old,
Has a struggling bunch of balloons to hold;
Balloons like giant, luscious grapes,
With shiny skins and the roundest shapes.
They dodge and tug to get away,
Like children, peevish at control.

Early and late the patient soul
Smiling and nodding keeps his stand,
On a corner where the breezes play,
And the child-parade goes by each day;
For windmills whirl his other hand.
Petaled windmills of every hue
Known to his native, opal land,
Busily, dizzily whiz and whir,
Making rosettes of rainbow blur,
Too bewildering to be true.
Giovanni guards the corner well;
A kindly wizard, ready to sell
For a tiny bit of sordid money
A gaudy joy, when the day is sunny.
Flimsy joys! Just pretty toys,
Fragile and useless anywhere;
Except to little girls and boys
Empty and meaningless as air!

How babies love the foolish things!
Their chubby, mittened hands they reach,
Pout rosy lips in lisping speech,
Coaxing the wizard with wrinkled face
To part with his treasure,
The joys that have wings.
He is willing enough, for a nickel or two --
And what is a nickel to me or you?
He grins and nods with an artist's grace,
Pleased with the little ones' guileless pleasure.
He airily pockets the proffered pence,
Tethers his wares to the iron fence.
With gentle fingers he ties the strings
To pround small buttons; he thrusts a wand --
A fairy wand -- in a baby hand.
"Va bene!"
Off to a Wonderland!

Giovanni Carbone! No wonder you grin,
With your burning eye set in parchment skin;
Purveyor of dreams for the innocent;
Maker of laughter rather than pain;
Vender of perfect, rounded content.
I envy you again and again
Your job and your bit of wonder-money,
And your breezy stand, when the day is sunny.





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