indiana puzzle quilt

Outside, I hear the gay laughter of youth.
They laugh at anything.
They laugh freely.
The humid air resonates
with their bellicose mirth.
Laughter soothes a need…
the need to…burst with pleasure.
Perhaps they flee something,
maybe life.
They live lighter, laughing.

When the world turns inside out,
laughter remains.
One must really look.
One must really listen,
but it’s there.
It’s a quality of life which always exists,
but you must find it
in yourself.

The red bellies jiggle
against the white emptiness.

I wrote this poem many years ago, around age 19, while at a summer music “camp” in Nice, France. Not a bad place to practice! They were productive summers. (I went twice) I practiced. But I also spent many hours on the beach, and many hours in cafés, speaking broken French with my french friends, who spoke broken English. I’m sure we solved all the worlds problems, if I could only remember how. I love the creative beauty of the language and culture of France.

I also translated the poem, since I studied French while there. But I won’t bore you with that.

I remember the fields of lavender, one of the main scents in french perfume. I remember the late night pizzas in crowded outdoor restaurants along pedestrian shopping areas. I remember the Nice and Cannes jazz festivals, where I snuck in to hear Ella Fitzgerald, Buddy Rich, Stephan Grapelli, among others.

For some reason, I got to visit heaven early in life.

14 thoughts on “Laughter

  1. I have always dreamed of traveling the world, as I am at heart a child of the earth, more than a citizen of a country.

    But I fell in love with a true blue American, a former soldier, who saw first hand how scary it can be when subjected to the laws of another nation.

    Bless his heart, he is just like Special Agent In Charge Doug Chesnick, from the movie “Guarding Tess.”

    He will not leave our borders. Not ever. And I am his wife, so I guess I shall stay here too.

    But its nice to hear the tales of far away places, and imagine…

  2. Kelley- I am a little surprised at your resignation to deny yourself some world travels. I’m sure there are many loving, married couples who trust each other to travel separately.

    On the other hand, tavel is stressful and expensive. It’s rarely as romantic as it seems. I do less and less of it, prefering now to visit places which offer good hiking and natural beauty. The US offers many such places.,

  3. The poem reminded me of something that just happened yesterday. A group of youths passed me on a wide downtown sidewalk. They were ecstatic about something, talking, cajoling, and laughing loudly, so much so that I actually smiled, despite my funk. They reminded me of a joie de vivre which I desperately needed reminding of and didn’t know it. And your poem reminded me of it again.

  4. “I remember the fields of lavender, one of the main scents in french perfume. I remember the late night pizzas in crowded outdoor restaurants…”

    Me too. Thank you for remininding me of another time, another place, and another me.


  5. Thank you for reminding me of how much fun friends can be and how close to heaven laughter really brings us. You are a special one indeed. Laugher is music from the heart. It’s no wonder you know all about it.

  6. Teri- Cool, did you live in France? I’ll never forget the intoxicating air, the food, the smells. It was a wonderful two summers.

  7. Indeterminicy- Wow, how cool. I’ll post a note about it. Thanks for coming by again. Yes, laughter and joy permeated those youthful summers for me.

  8. I lived in Madrid, and traveled to many places once – and to France and Portugal many times. Intoxicating yes. Cafe de Flore anyone?!

  9. Teri- Ahhh. The sunny cultures of S. Europe! I spent a week in San Sebastian, the pearl of Spain. It still retains all of its Victorian elegance. Tapas anyone? I don’t know the Café de Flore. But I can guess it’s expensive.

  10. David…

    What price will we pay for peace and contentment…and a the best croissant and coffee? The Café de Flore knows only too well! It is located on the left bank of Paris – Saint Germaine near St. Sulpice and a mile or two from the Latin Quarter.

    I love San Sebastian…and Barcelona…and Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia, Segovia, Malaga… (get my point?) Tapas are a regular occurance in my home. I love to make them and then consume them with a nice bottle of Rioja. Salud!


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