Lunchtime Impressions on the Mall

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Crowd motion defies the lurking historical stillness
Of inscrutable gray and white bulwarks,
Like concrete heads and faces
Peering from the edges of this long rectangle
Of green with its castle, domes, pillars and glass
Enveloping art works and ancient documents;
Generations of cars, aircraft and rockets;
The tourists and techno-, bureau- and democrats;
All treasures of this young republic.

Joggers pant and perspire in running suits
Bright blue, yellow and the color of fire;
Hair streaming gold or auburn or bronze;
Their Adidas pinch up and fling
Slight gravel from broad pathways,
Stone-carpeted for walkers before running caught up.
Kids galumph from museums to food wagons
And slower parents and teachers in their trail.

Sea birds pirouette in quarter-speed,
Gull wings frozen-framed,
Then collapsing into neat folds for foraging
As they float in for graceful dry landings
Among their colleagues: shy, cooing pigeons.
High above, kites dart and snap in the breeze,
Fishtailing against the pristine sunlit sky;
Some in upper, stable flight sedate,
Nodding as they meditate,
Specks of color bobbing on a thread
Capturing enraptured envious eyes below.

A penny for your thoughts, Abe Lincoln,
Coolly shaded beyond the reflecting pool,
Quiet during a day of dreaming on your chair,
Surrounded by your wise, circular words
Beyond Washington's long stone finger.
Did you run a kite against the wind
And exalt at flight and tension on your knuckle?
Ben Franklin had his kite trick,
How about you?