Sunday, 22 January 2012
New Revenue Stream for Struggling Bards
I was walking up Hackney Road one lunchtime last week when I was accosted by a bearded man with an Ancient Mariner urgency-to-impart about him. Fixing me with his wild and somewhat crooked eyes he told me he was "a travelling street poet" and asked me whether he could share one of his poems with me- he gave me a choice of three titles and I selected a piece called Dreams. He launched into a jog-trotting set of rhymes - nearer to Eminem than Amiri Baraka - about life on the streets, drug-dealers and down-and-outs, children losing their innocence, the shattering of dreams etc.
He finished with a flourish of his hands and said " You're smiling - you must have liked it. Surely that's worth a pound or two so I can get some dinner for my dog?" I gave him a couple of pound coins and he cadged a further 50p out of me. We shook hands and parted amicably, although my pace quickened as I heard him proceed up the road behind me, accosting each passerby with the same stentorian "Hello, I'm a travelling street poet, could I share one of my poems with you today?"