The man with the erhu

His mind was somewhere else, 
miles and miles away. 
His eyes had that faraway look. 
He was in deep thought, 
pondering the mysteries of life 
or maybe even 
thinking about his own future. 
His fingers played deftly, 
wielding the erhu expertly 
the way only practiced hands can. 
The music resonated in the air 
mournful, slow, and melancholic, 
pregnant with sorrow 
yet mellifluous. 
Reality beckoned him back. 
The sound of a penny or two 
being dropped into his collection 
brought him back to reality. 
Smiling gratefully at his benefactors, 
he continued to play the erhu. 
Just for a while 
all his worries are eclipsed 
by his upturned face. 
But the smile slowly fades away, 
giving way to his worries, 
the worries of a lifetime 
etched deep in his wrinkles. 

This poem was written in response to Sadje’s What Do You See prompt #84. Thank you, Sadje for hosting this challenge. The challenge is to use the picture prompt as inspiration to compose an original story, poem, or a caption. This was my last minute take on the prompt.

For the visually challenged reader, the image shows an older man sitting on a bench by a park. There is a trolley bag behind him. He is playing a stringed instrument and has a collection bag by his feet.

The erhu is a two-stringed bowed musical instrument, also known as the Chinese violin.

Image courtesy: Sadje

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© 2021 Shweta Suresh. All rights reserved.

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