She played her guitar with dirty nails,
And the scent of patchouli in the air.
Hemp and jade hung from her neck,
And daises were woven through her hair.
Anything that moved with purpose,
Stopped to watch before passing by,
From people on the sidewalk,
To cars on the street, to birds in the sky;
All enchanted more by the beauty,
Of what they saw than of what they heard,
As she skillfully plucked her strings –
So serene and self-assured.
She closed her eyes and smiled,
Like she knew something they did not,
All the while performing her magic,
For anyone within earshot.
Her skin sparkled from salt crystals
That still clung to her from the day before,
When she set up on a seawall to perform
In front of a breezy ocean shore.
Sometimes she sang her notes off cue,
And other times she hummed.
But no matter what she did, with confidence
She always, always strummed.
The crowd she drew made judgment calls
That left them feeling on edge,
As if it was they and not she, the mad one,
Who would one day end up on some ledge.
For she was the one who entertained for pennies,
And made her home on the street.
And it was she who collected money,
In an old tweed case left open at her feet.
But she didn’t care about her destitution,
Or where she was going so why should they?
Move along with your sanctimony,
And leave this free spirit to play!
And play is what she did until her voice was hoarse,
And her fingers bled.
Then like a far off rolling tide she and her music
Faded into a setting sun of fiery red.