“Ballade for a Street Musician”

Joshua BellJoshua Bell, famous violinist, who plays to sellout crowds everywhere at $500 per seat decides to play to morning rush of people at Metro station in Washington, D.C. as a ‘social experiment’.   What happens?

“Ballade for a Street Musician”

So heavenly, from other worlds, notes stray

in station of the Metro, Washington.

Great music moves along a vast arcade.

The people hurry on hear Mendelssohn.

But Bach is hushed as morning rush is on

though Joshua plays with all his heart and soul.

A street musician’s image he has donned

as someone drops a dollar in his bowl.

An anxious crowd walks by.  They cannot stay

to hear this troubadour play Mendelssohn.

That fear of being late his tune allays

for one who leans against the wall, and yawns

and listens to the sweet, sustaining tones.

Then Bell will bend his bow to charm; cajole.

One listens as arpeggio will moan

as someone drops a dollar in his bowl.

There’s wonders to be heard at break of day.

Notes float among their faces, blank and wan.

How busy are the echoed strings that play.

How fast the people, moving hither, yon.

Sir Joshua Bell, musician; an icon

with bending bow, his violin extolls

the sweeping air; his music’s lexicon

as someone drops a dollar in his bowl.


His precious Stradavari’s  a beacon

yet only seven stop to hear the whole

of Paganini’s music ‘fore its gone

as someone drops a dollar in his bowl.

(The Ballade, the French form. (Not Ballad).3 stanzas, 8 lines each, same rhyme scheme: ababbcbc. Envoi: last 4 lines rhyme bcbc.)

  (This was another contest entry that did not make it.  I sent this one to some place in Scotland.  Degree of difficulty in this one is the rhyme.  There are 14 “B” rhymes in this poem!  Hard to find that many “B” rhyme words that will work in such a poem, but I like the form because it is so challenging.)

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