Café Terrace at Night

It’s a cool clear night,
Stars whirling across the sky.
The café lights illuminate the street.
A hint of crispness is on the air,
Summer evenings are just starting to retreat.

I am at our favorite café,
First table, just outside the door.
Where you can take it all in,
The noise from inside flows out,
While the outside tries to win.

The kitchen is in a mad state.
Cooks scream, waiters in high speed,
Smokey meats, exotic spices ride the steam.
A glowing haze floats above the room,
Tables of laughter, people with spirits, a rowdy team.

Everyone is in a joyous symphony,
Except me as I wait for Marie.
Sitting alone, the laughter has become just noise.
I hear the clip clop, a carriage approaches,
I’m trying to remain calm with gentleman poise.

Maybe it is she, maybe it is Marie.
She will approach with a loving smile
I will arise to take her hands and greet her with a kiss.
We will talk about her day,
My heart will be filled with bliss.

I will tell her she is beautiful.
Her cheeks will redden and she will glow.
We will drink the wine,
Laugh and holds hands,
How my heart beats knowing she in mine.

The waiter interrupts my wishful muse.
The carriage has passed,
I send him on his way.
Where is she, where is Marie?
So far this is a terrible day!

Was she waylaid by a misfortune?
I hear the approach, a woman’s shoes behind.
Turning with a soaring heart,
NO, where is she?
I can’t stand when we are apart!

It’s well past the time we agreed.
Maybe she is hurt, maybe I should go to her.
But if she arrives and I am not here,
She will think I am a lout.
What should I do, why isn’t it clear?

No, I should stay.
Waiter, bring me more wine!
It is sweet on my lips,
Like the late picnic on the Rhone.
Remembering her sweetness, I take another sip.

Where is she? Maybe she is upset.
The comments about the old soldier, 
With nothing below his knee,
And those remarks about the funny man painting,
She looked so sorely at me.

She is not coming, she is mad at me.
My life is ruined,
Wait, down the street,
A young woman is running,
I stand to my feet!

She is coming this way
Almost to the lamp post.
Wearing a blue dress like Marie.
A man is running towards her
Unfortunately, she does not see.


Everyone stops to look at me and then Marie.
Just as the man catches her
She is swept up into his arms.
A long lovers kiss
My heart is full of alarms!

Suddenly I am full of dread,
She is not coming, she is mad,
The murmurs of the crowd are about me.
I pay the bill and silently leave
Alas, there is no more Marie.

David Gray