The Blind Musician

The vesper bells rang out the day
       The jostling crowd moved on its way:
The sexton flared the old church light;
       The lamps were lit and all was bright.
Then slowly thro’ the open door,
       The moving crowd began to pour;
And smiling youth and hoary age,
       Alike were crowding round the stage.
A blind musician, flushed and gay,
       Mounted the stage and picked his way
To where an old piano lone
       Awaited to adjust its tone.
His form swayed as moved by the breeze,
       Electric fingers swept o’er the keys,
And like the mighty tides of the sea
       That slowly swell and flood the lea,
He made the strains of music rise
       And swell till they had lashed the skies.
The crowd sat mute, their minds had flown
       On trembling notes to shores unknown,
Belated teamsters left their dray
       And toward the chapel sought their way;
A star peeped thro’ the clouds o’er head
       And seemed to trip and onward sped.
The blind musician lower bent,
       And swift the rolling music went
Like the gentle ebb and the flow
       Of ocean tides that come and go,
Or like the roll of drum and fife,
       Or sounds of conflict and of strife,
E’en more, the mocking bird would trill
       Its warbling lays and all was still
Till soft the sound of winds swept o’er,
       And broke a mighty tempest roar.
Lightening seemed in the player’s hand;
       A music cyclone struck the land.
Then came a creak as if were struck
       Some massive house, or trees were plucked
From their roots, and the thunder’s might
       Made those near by leap up in fright
Then came the lull, the storm was gone:
       The musician seemed sad and lone.
Thought he must of his darling wife,
       Whom he’d ne’er seen in all his life,
But as he sat in sad repose,
       Much he looked like the last fair rose.
Tho’ music vibrated ev’ry vein,
       A rose bloomed out on Sharon’s plain.
O, what genius in deed and thought!
       What mechanism by heaven wrought!
A soul of light, tho’ earth and skies
       Gave not light to his blinded eyes,
His fingers sought the keys once more,
       And played he then as ne’er before
And tossed he like a ship on the main,
       Till his soul echoed the last sad strain.

From Jessamine (Self published, 1900) by James Thomas Franklin. Copyright © 1900 by James Thomas Franklin. This poem is in the public domain.