The Coat. Poem by PAUL COLVIN

The Coat.

The old man plays his mandolin
A saucer is his money tin
Odd pennies asked for tunes he plays
Helps to feed him day to day
No streets of gold along his way
Feeling strings, he plucks away
His virtuoso fingers sing
Along his battered mandolin.
Each note brings out the sweetest sound
But no-one ever turns around
No-one ever hears his plea
Nor hear his tunes played gracefully
He looks to them but cannot see
Yet carries on with dignity
The old man in the shabby coat
Plucks and plays his final note.
He takes the saucer in his hand
Seeks payment for his one man band
Whispered words are just ignored
But the old man’s seen it all before
He’s been around and done it all
He’s seen the writing on the wall
He shuffles ‘cross the tiled floor
And heads out through the open door.
I remember in the bad old days
Playing sleazy bars and street cafes
And soap box stars would tag along
Play guitar or sing a song
And in that world we lived in
A young man played his mandolin
A tailored coat upon his back
Its velvet collar shining balck
And when we shouted encore
He’d glide across the dance floor
Then just like every night before,
He’d head out through the open door.

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