Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The National Treasure Who Plays In The Park

There’s a piper who plays in the center of Sofia
Songs from his country’s remarkable past
I sat on the curb and I listened, transported,
So willingly under the spell that he cast

I’d been told that the man was a national treasure,
A world-class performer who played in the park
He’s there every day, or at least very nearly,
Performing his magic until it grows dark.

He approached me and asked, though he barely spoke English,
“What would you hear today? Happy? Or sad?”
“Sad”, I replied; “I am leaving tomorrow;
I can’t hear a happy song, feeling so bad.”

He played me a song of a terrible story
An Ottoman soldier had chosen a bride—
A Bulgarian beauty, who so loved her country
She threw herself into the ocean and died

His pipes were enchanted, they shouted, they whispered,
At turns calm and peaceful, then wonderfully wild
They barked like a dog, and then sang like a lover,
They wailed like a mother who’s just lost a child.

When he finished, we talked for another half hour;
I put all the money I had in his case
Then, late for a meeting, I turned and departed,
Appreciative teardrops still wet on my face

If ever you find yourself visiting Sofia—
Business, for pleasure, or just as a lark—
I love the whole city, but best in my memory,
The national treasure who plays in the park


Crispy Fish said...


Anonymous said...


Cuttlefish said...

Thank you, all.

I couldn't say in the verse--after the song, when we had been talking for a bit, he suddenly said "this is what I would have played if you wanted happy", and launched into a lively rendition of "Jingle Bells". In July. While chasing two young women down the walkway.


Will said...

That's awesome.