A child walks by,
clutching in its small hand
the blueprint of happiness.
It will use this blueprint
to construct a toy for itself,
one it can play with
until the sun goes down,
until its mother,
suddenly mindful of the hour,
sticks her head out the door
and coos: ‘Bedtime, Angel.’
At which point Angel
will climb aboard his small boat
of dreams and sail away.
Look! He is sailing
past Father, at whose throat
a comical knot has been positioned
to hold back anger.
But have no fear. The knot
appears to be strong enough,
so that Father,
far from expressing anger,
is actually waving at the small boat,
wishing it the safest
of all possible journeys.
How wonderful it is
to think of this tiny vessel
coursing through the night,
to imagine the miniature sail
into which the sleeping child
must puff periodically
to keep himself moving
out to sea.
But wait! A storm
appears on the horizon.
And soon this storm
(itself no more than a sigh)
is rocking the tiny boat,
throwing it off course
as it attempts to
cut straight through toward its goal.
But what is its goal?
It doesn’t seem to know anymore
where it’s going.
In fact, it is bumping
into chairs,
bruising its delicate hull.
But what the devil are these chairs
doing in the middle of the ocean?
The ocean’s no place for chairs.
Let us remove them,
you and I,
so that the small boat
can continue on its way.
But, no, we can’t remove the chairs.
They are too bulky.
And, besides,
Father is sitting in one of them,
arms folded across his chest,
the comical knot
having been removed
from around his throat.
He seems to be angry about something.
Fire is shooting from his nostrils,
singeing the eyebrows
of the poor little child.
Oh! What is going to become
of this child?
In his left hand
he clutches the blueprint of happiness,
while with his right
he must attempt to put out the flames.
Meanwhile the boat
is sailing in a circle,
as though it were confused,
as though it had no goal,
no purpose in life
except to sail in this circle,
the wind at its back.
Father’s flaming anger up ahead.
But wait! The child
has slipped a knot around Father’s throat
and is towing him out to sea!
What a picture this makes:
Father, sitting in his chair,
being towed out to sea.
The child, standing at the helm of his ship,
clutching the blueprint of happiness
between his teeth!
Yes, somewhere there’s a boat
whose name is ’Pleasure’
and it is sailing
all around the world
looking for a port to land in . . .