“After supper was over and the toasts had been drunk, the boy Pablo was called in to play for the company while the gentlemen smoked. . . there was softness and languor in the wire strings–but there was also a kind of madness; the recklessness, the call of wild countries which all these men had felt or followed in one way or another. Through clouds of cigar smoke, the scout and the soldiers, the Mexican rancheros and the priests, sat silently watching the bent head and crouching shoulders of the banjo player, and his seesawing yellow hand, which sometimes lost all form and became a mere whirl of matter in motion, like a patch of sand-storm.”
― Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop
“I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.”
― T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
I seem to always be taking pictures of banjo players.
and there is my favorite – the banjo playing woman singing on Royal Street in the French Quarter, in New Orleans
I only had a dollar left
and I gave it to the
Playing the Banjo
on Royal and singing a simple sweet country tune.
My little dollar joined the sparse cluster of crumpled green in her banjo case on the sidewalk
– I saw there was a kazoo in there too
What else is there to spend your last dollar on?
Except for bus fare home. So it looks like a long walk on some sore and tired feet.
I wanted to take her picture and I didn’t want to do that without leaving at least a dollar.
I would have left more, but, like I said, that was my last. I wonder if it would mean anything to her – the banjo playing girl – if she knew it was my last dollar?
In the St. Louis Cemetery #1 there is a vault that was donated and is dedicated to the musicians of New Orleans that can’t afford to pay for their own burial.