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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Orpheus Transcendent. By John von Daler

                       Like a #cubist painting the violinist's movements seemed to stutter even as they shifted position.

Angular and disembodied his figure transcended the light summer air as the wandering #fiddler entered the courtyard. Stiff as splintered two-by-fours his limbs clattered through their movements while he unpacked the violin and hoisted the instrument up to his brittle chin. Twirling his bow, the man in a tramp's shabby clothes slung the rosined horsehairs onto the strings making the instrument emit sounds not unlike the cats from whose intestines those strings supposedly were fashioned.
                "Scratch! Screech!" the #violin hacked out a melody in jagged clumps of sound. It was a song about longing and misuse, but what once had been pathos now seemed more like an uncontrolled anger emitted not from the instrument, but from the six-sided soul of the musician.
                Inside the open-backed apartments with their tiny balconies the dwellers covered their ears and tried to hide inside some deafened soft place in themselves, but respite evaded them. They ran frantically back and forth on the now slanted floors of their apartments, up and away from the sound, then sliding back into the awful growl and then up and away again.
                Finally a father, who no longer had the energy to try to escape, found some coins in his pockets and turning to the small children whose eyes had grown large as the sounds they were hearing yelled, "Here throw these to him and tell him to go away!"
                In the golden sun the shining silver pieces flashed in lighted arcs as they pelted toward the courtyard pavement.
                "Go away!" yelled the children.
                And the forlorn figure of the musician spread out its arms, breaking off the sound like some branch torn off an old and dying tree. His stiffened body now turned soft just for a moment, its back almost horizontal, but curved, arched, looking down at the coins on the ground, inspired at last. As he picked up the money, the man was thinking, That's what Dad used to yell. Go away!                
                The angular figure packed the violin in the case and now resumed his clattering, stammering gait as he pushed his way out of the courtyard door.
                "I'm out'a here!" he shouted back over his shoulder as he closed the door behind him. The old man never thought I'd amount to anything. But I'm makin' a livin' at least. That's better than he did!
                Up from their apartments the wide-eyed children watched the pell-mell fiddler click clack down the street.
                "He's gone," they yelled. "He's gone now!"
Read about
another fiddler
in my book.
You can buy it
or just look at it


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