Avital R.

The Crowd And Its Joy

ani takes to the stage and a tear
fills the crowd’s collective eye
strangers turn to strangers, sharing their delight
in the little folksinger, churning out words and beats at record speed

she rants and raves, swoons and sighs, and the crowd nods its head
we turn to each other, fellow workers, and pretend
that we’re as familiar with each other as we are with ani’s songs
we share favorites, stories, opinions
the blue-haired, the combat-booted, the cardigan-wearing
the grandparents, the students, the newcomers
all connected through our undying admiration
of this five foot woman and her unrelenting truths

as the music builds and todd hovers over his bass
we expect the familiar closing anthem
but then we hear it: “I do it for the joy it brings…”
the guitar morphs into a trumpet, a flute, a sax
a shared shudder ripples through the crowd
it takes some back to the nineties: the pure passion
and brings others forward to the present: the joy and the questions
as the chords grow louder and louder, the crowd leans back
opens its face up, and sings: “we owe each other the world”
we jump, we clap, we stomp our feet, and then

the song’s done, the guitar’s backstage, and ani and todd are bowing
just another stop on a cross-country tour
but for the crowd, it was something else
a diary entry, an eager phone call, a lasting memory
a mark of the melody, and the truth, and the joy.


Copyright 2002-2008 Student Publishing Program (SPP). Poetry and prose 2002-2008 by individual authors. Reprinted with permission. SPP developed and designed by Strong Bat Productions.