Bubble merchant of Ponte Vecchio

On the old bridge we saw an old man blowing bubbles past the glittering windows of gold and silver craftsmen. Which were more resplendent (we wondered, watching the colorful orbs ascend, clasping jewelled oblongs deep within?) And which more truly real? The watery worlds swirling reflected glories turned and drifted, struck at a straw and shattered -- while the hard cash-value wealth, preserved in icy settings remained that April day. The little man flung back his white mane, blew a last barrage of bubbles that danced over his shoulder and across the Aron: mounted his bicycle and pedalled proudly away. (If no one wanted his treasures -- Wasn't Dante also exiled by Florence?) Alma Roberts Giordan

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