Beneath Notice

Joshua Bell — a world class
concert musician — played
his three million dollar
violin in a D.C. subway

The Kings of Hypocrisy
occupy the streets above,
working diligently to strip us
of our freedom, rights, money,

The homeless and hungry
huddle against the January
morning cold — offered food
and blankets in a church
basement — ignored by
politician, protester and 1%
alike; words and ideas being
more important than action.

Joshua played his violin for
forty-five minutes — six beautiful,
complicated Bach pieces — he
made $32 in passerby tips, only
children seemed interested in
stopping to listen, denied by
busy parents.

No one applauded.

Written for the dVerse Poets ‘subway’ prompt. BTW, the Joshua Bell story is true, you may have seen the e-mail, look it up.

Also posted to The Imaginary Garden.



Filed under Poetry, Poetry - Prompts

21 responses to “Beneath Notice

  1. heck…what a weird world…a gold nugget before our eyes and we don’t even notice it..but i’m afraid it’s often like that..we would pay hundreds of dollars to hear him play in some sophisticated concert hall and don’t take the time to stop and enjoy when we almost run into him…great story…great write mark

  2. That’s an amazing story, whose truth I can’t deny since I’ve seen it too. There’s so much rush and bustle that Bach, I fear, must get squashed to nonentity. I just wish I’d been there, taking just a few minutes to hear those wonderful notes cataract down the moldy, mildewed walls, mixing with the stench and ordure.

  3. Great! Still can’t believe they ignored Joshua Bell while he was playing for free! Tsktsk.

  4. that is sucha cool story..i had heard it before and def interesting how you can take someone so talented and put them in a different enviro like that…and def the contrast between the two classes of people….would have been lovely to hear..

  5. this is such a great story. i would not have ignored him

    alive on subway senryu

  6. Amazing story and a very cool write!

  7. hobgoblin2011

    very cool take on the prompt. Loved the narrative aspect here and the way you segmented Joshua’s story with the description of the surroundings. Was surprised in a good way at the 32 dollars, as I was sucked into the idea that Joshua was in an philharmonic of sorts, so here, you are no longer thinking of joshua as this player in the concert game, but a victim of circumstance, such a great job here- love it when I get fooled in such a manner- for me, that’s one part what poetry can and should be. Great job. Thanks

  8. Wonderful poem…wonderful story…nice take on the prompt!

  9. I read that about this artist and thought then how fickle we humans are. People would pay hundreds of dollars to see this man in concert on a stage and yet, because he was an ‘unknown’ no-one wanted to listen. Amazing.
    Lovely prose.

  10. oh my goodness, the contrast – especially as played between the first two stanzas – just makes me want to cry… a wonderfully rendered poem

  11. Yes, I read about this story. Ironic isn’t it ?

  12. I read about this at the time, in a news magazine. It speaks volumes. I would have stopped to listen, but then, I have been careful to keep that part of myself alive.


  13. Oh my, what a sad story, and SO well – told. Microcosm of all that is going on on this planet.

  14. Marian

    yes, tell it, keep in alive, save this story for our progeny.

  15. Laurie Kolp

    We have a lot to learn from children, don’t we?

  16. It takes a deft hand to recreate a true story like this, in poetic form no less, and retain its poignancy and impact. You did it. Well done.

  17. I’ve seen the video, and it is amazing, that out of the correct context – the concert hall – so many people would ignore talent that is truly world-class. What does it say about us and our affectations? One can only wonder.

  18. Well,.. that should reinforce everything you have ever suspected about your fellow man. Depressing isn’t it!

  19. Excellent. thanks for reminding me of this… I watched it on YouTube. So many have become numb to the beauty around them.

  20. That he played for them, and they walked by, is so tragic. So many people with their heads down missing the magic of life right in front of them. Wonderfully done…

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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