Blue Helium Sky

The Old Guitarist (Picasso)

The far away chords
of a guitar amid
city voices called to him
in slate, blue Barcelona
with its melancholy rhythm.
In a doorway, he found
a man whose eyes had gone dim –
holding an ancient instrument
with his long, underfed limbs.

In the poor quarter,
this man was another
of the lame, blind and old
cast out upon these avenues
of Mediterranean cold.
His tune was muffled
by the babble and din
of the drunken and penniless
who peopled this land.

The painter watched
the death blue strum
of the beggar’s hand
across the strings
in the capital of Catalan.

He heard the old man
with head bowed and arms
at El Greco angles
play a love song in a minor key
shining a while like a jewel.
The music of the man
in rags was only able
to travel along the sea breezes
like a sigh through the rabble.

The painter watched
the death blue strum
of the beggar’s hand
across the strings
in the capital of Catalan.

2002/2014

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