Andrew Burke

(1944 - / Melbourne / Australia)

Duet at Shanxi Normal University Linfen, China


As I walked out late along Paragon Road
among students going hither and thither,
I heard a trained voice – male, operatic –
singing quietly to itself, ‘Maria, Maria’,
then Mandarin lyrics. I couldn’t understand
so I asked, ‘You sing “Maria”?’
He shook his head. I said, ‘You know,
“Maria” from West Side Story ...’ He
shook his head some more – so I sang
and he joined me and we sang
down Paragon Road to the gate,
my ‘Maria’, his Chinese song.

At the gate, between smiling sentries,
I tapped him on the shoulder and said,
‘Same melody has got me thinking,
it’s the same bloody song, mate!’

Submitted: Tuesday, May 22, 2012

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