The Strad

Gregory Owen Pearse

A burned-out park bench with panting dog
A ghost of a man barely there
Scratchy beard and holes everywhere
Cigarette dangling from chapped lips
He holds his precious violin precariously
One string missing and the rest about to go
A crack perfectly down the center  
With toothless grin he says it’s a “Strad”

A year ago his home burned to the ground
The only possessions salvaged…his dog and violin

Every day he hears the same song descending from ethereal regions
He picks up his “Strad” as if for the first time
And under guidance of strange fingers over breaking strings
And despite being completely deaf
He somehow finds the right notes

There is total stillness for a few moments
This city of six million begins to levitate, ever so slightly
Even the birds hold their breath, awestruck

And then the dog chimes in
And lets out a long howl in
Perfect cadence to end the happening

Relieved to be back on the ground
People laugh and leave a few coins
The dog’s wide eyes say it’s time to go
And he pulls on the rope leash
Tied to his master’s ankle

Don’t be in such a rush, friend
Says the old musician
The sun has barely risen and
The greatest song has yet to resound


Gregory Owen Pearse was born in Queens, NY,  he scrawled his first poem all over his second-grade desk with a huge black crayon and has been in counseling ever since. He received his education at Rice University, where he studied music and cinema and married Russian-born organist Maria Moshinskaya. His films have shown at festivals around the world, and his website at has become quite popular over the years with art-film buffs and truth-seekers. He’s presently hard at work on developing a pilot for television but still finds time to rekindle the flames of his first love: poetry.

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