Guest poem submitted by Stephen Pecha:
(Poem #1529) Timid Frieda
Timid Frieda Will they greet her On the street where Young strangers travel On magic carpets Floating lightly In beaded caravans Who can know if They will free her On the street where She comes to join them There she goes With her valises Held so tightly in her hands Timid Frieda Will life seize her On the street where The new dreams gather Like fearless robins Joined together In high-flying bands She feels taller Troubles smaller On the street where She's lost in wonder There she goes With her valises Held so tightly in her hands Timid Frieda Won't return now To the home where They do not need her But always feed her Little lessons And platitudes from cans She is free now She will be now On the street where The beat's electric There she goes With her valises Held so tightly in her hands Timid Frieda Who will lead her On the street where The cops all perish For they can't break her And she can take her Brave new fuck you stand Yet she's frightened Her senses heightened On the street where The darkness brightens There she goes With her valises Held so tightly in her hands Timid Frieda If you see her On the street where The future gathers Just let her be her Let her play in The broken times of sand There she goes now Down the sidewalk On the street where The world is bursting There she goes With her valises Held so tightly in her hands
A few weeks ago you ran a poem about growing up, which made me think of "Timid Frieda" by the French song writer Jacques Brel. Song lyrics, I know, don't sound so well if you don't know the music, but I still think this holds up as poetry. I first heard this when I was in high school. My Language Club had taken a field trip to New York City, it was 1968, and we went to Greenwich Village. The hippie movement was in full swing, and it was incredible fun to buy black-light posters and other similar things, and just to be in the Village. There, at the Village Gate, we heard the revue "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris." I purchased the album when I was in college, and enjoyed it a lot over the years. "Timid Frieda" always seemed to me to capture the tentative nature of leaving your parents' home and going out into the world, with timid courage. In the heady counterculture days of the late sixties, the lines about being "on the street where the beat's electric" and the "brave new f*** you stand" were strong stuff. If you know the music, you also realize the the slow 3/4 time sounds a little wistful, as if the singers are pitying Frieda and the mistakes she's bound to make, which they know they must let her make. In growing up, we all go out there, with our valises held so tightly in our hands. There are a few websites where you can look up more of Jacques Brel's lyrics, and they make interesting reading. Stephen Pecha.