Monday, January 11, 2016

Robert Lee Haycock writes


Woken from my heading-home dozing
Just outside of Orinda station
By a swarthy young man and a
Red, white and green accordion
His lady friend passing the cup
I smiled and slept again
Music moved up the train
Operator came on the P.A.
"Loud music and panhandling
(She pronounced it 'pandling')
Is not allowed on BART"

"But they're busking," thought I
"'Pandling' is not allowed on BART"
The melody was sad and sweet

 No loud music or busking | Flickr - Photo Sharing!


  1. In the United States numerous legal cases have decided the rights of buskers to perform in public. Most of the laws and regulations banning the practice have been found unconstitutional. Free speech is considered a fundamental right of every individual, guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and in the majority of legal cases it has been concluded that practicing artistic free speech is legal and clearly not panhandling or begging.

  2. Orinda is an affluent community just east of Berkeley, California, and has a station on the Pittsburg/Bay Point Line of BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). FORBES magazine once ranked it the second friendliest town in America. It was named in honor of "the Matchless Orinda," the 17th-century Anglo-Welsh poet Katherine Philips, whose translation of Pierre Corneille's "Pompée" was the first rhymed version of a French tragedy in English and the first English play written by a woman to be performed on the professional stage. Her poems often dealt with the nature and value of friendship between women and have often been labeled lesbian poetry, though she insisted on their platonic nature. Gere is "To my Excellent Lucasia, on our Friendship":

    I did not live until this time
    Crowned my felicity,
    When I could say without a crime,
    I am not thine, but thee.

    This carcase breathed and walked and slept,
    So that the world believed
    There was a soul the motions kept,
    But they were all deceived.

    For as a watch by art is wound
    To motion, such was mine;
    But never had Orinda found
    A soul till she found thine;

    Which now inspires, cures, and supplies,
    And guides my darkened breast;
    For thou art all that I can prize,
    My joy, my life, my rest.

    No bridegroom's nor crown-conqueror's mirth
    To mine compared can be;
    They have but pieces of this earth,
    I've all the world in thee.

    Then let our flames still light and shine,
    And no false fear control,
    As innocent as our design,
    Immortal as our soul.

  3. Ahhh, great post, sir. We don't like pesky people interfering with our day-to-day, the First & Fourteenth be damned! And I especially love the Katherine Phillips poem, no matter who it is written to. :)

  4. It seems to me that we don't want people to interfere with "our" personal space but are often quite willing to intrude into others'---
    There's a lot of wonderful English poetry out there that has been forgotten, neglected, or ignored.


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