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(retro pre-euro poem)
by Edmund Conti

Where ancient Rome and Italy joins,
Shimmering, are many coins.
Well, not that many, making mountains
But here are there among the fountains.

They lie beneath the splashing waters
For every one a private wish:
Bring a son or take my daughters;
Let me catch another fish.

There’s a bright and shining penny.
There’s another hundred more.
Americans are here and many.
What do they need wishes for?

Bussed-in Britons part with farthings
(spare us any Spoonerisms)
Wishing for some trolley car things
(and let’s omit the Toonerisms).

From Prague go halers splashing in.
Prego, Czechs are cashing in.
Finns bring here on many a day
Well-thawed out wishes for a pennia day
And when Helsinki freezes over
‘Plink’ go stotinka from Bulgers in clover.

Frenchmen toss, and turn and rue
Centimes happy, centimes blue.

An Amsterdamsel will repeat
Her boyfriend’s coin toss in the pool.
Separate wishes?  Or Dutch treat?
Double Dutch?  The gulden rule?

Fountains from the Renaissance
Fill with groszy and with groschen.
Middle European wants
Would fill the Atlantic Ocean.

Grecian urchin throws a drachma,
Looks up shyly, ‘We’ll be back, Ma.’
Threw a drachma but he kept a
Pocketful of smaller lepta.
And our mirth we can’t disguise.
Drachma foolish, lepta wise.

Dinar time—say sevenish—
Sheiks with shekels (thank you OPEC)
And making a collective wish,
Several Russians with one kopeck.

Down and out in Rome (in rhyme)
Fountain, can you spare a dime?

See those Puerto Rican boys?
Dreaming dreams and dreaming strange.
Much menudo macho noise.
Giant wishes for small change.

Throw Karl, marks, or even sous.
No odd dreams are out of range.
Wishers of the world, you lose
Nothing but your change.

Where Italy with old Rome is joined—
That’s where ‘hopes and dreams’ was coined.