Poetry: The Song


The Song

By: Courtney Beck


“You’re so vain,” sings the Mama amidst the produce.

“You probably think this song is about you,”

she insists, in perfect pitch,  inspecting an orange. 

Her children clamor behind her

For candy and toys and trinkets

They are sure will satisfy,

But Mama has turned the energy she can muster

To the colors of the fruit at her waist.


She sings her song with rising power,

Drowning the children’s cries in Simon’s ironic melody.

We, her produce aisle companions,

Smile with our understanding

And carry the tune with us

To the parking lot.

Our paper bags filled

with the apples and pears and bananas

we’ve chosen,

Reminding us, if we’ll allow them,

of what this woman is trying to say:


Don’t postpone joy.


Truly, truly, I must insist.

Suffer the little children and

Pursue the golden fruit of a life 

Poured out in the produce aisle,

Received again and again,

in our parking lots,

and at our kitchen tables.


What good do the candy and trinkets and toys do

if we wait?

If we wait, the clamor is all that we have.

If we wait, the children will swarm.

If we wait, we all,

but mostly you,

will miss the song.


And don’t you know this song is about you?

Don’t you know this song is not about you at all?

Don’t you?

Don’t you?

Well, do you?