• Ancient Paths

Joyeux Noël Rouen, France

by Deborah Guzzi


photo by Chris Rhoads on Unsplash


Roasting chestnuts scent December’s air. Around a towering fir—arbre de noël, the Romani peddler cranks a Barbary organ. A punched-wood barrel spins. Atop the calliope, a diminutive Pomeranian prances in a basket strapped to the three-wheeled cart. Two cuddling Abyssinians cats and a Pug sit—groomed to-the-nines in a box beside. Joy to the World oom pahs from peddler’s brass pipes. Toddlers coo to the sleeping cats as mother feeds the coin slotted box euros—Father kneels on the cobblestones snapping pics from his IPad.


The fedora-capped Romany traveler twirls his moustache like Pinocchio’s Geppetto. Hijinks roils through revelers as the Christmas Goblin scoots on bye—tooting steam from his punk-mobile. Scaredy-cat children hide.


candy apple goo sticks to the babies face: carolers sing


Starburst-firecrackers ornament the night sky. Circling the scene, families with strollers plow through the promenade toward Mass at Notre-Dame de Rouen or the Merry-Go-Round. Joyous is the night, where such Light is found.


(first Published in "Page & Spine" 2015) Published on the Ancient Paths Facebook page on December 24, 2019