Boston’s Buskers

A couple of months ago, or so, the members of dVerse Poet’s Pub were invited to submit poems to Nain Rouge a start-up “e-zine” publication showcasing urban life.  This invitation came during the celebration of our first year anniversary.  Any portrayal of city life was the assignment.

When I first read of the invitation for submitting poems, my mind immediately went to my time of living in Boston, MA.  I spent a few years there with my husband and two daughters when we all were quite young.  It was a great city to explore and very easy to navigate with the subway and bus systems.

My favorite part of living there was the entertainment that showed up literally at my feet as I walked throughout the city.  The street performers were so much fun…and what talent!  You could hear classical music being played on the subway platform while waiting for a train.  Or, hear a story being told by Brother Blue, the outlandishly dressed and lovable character created by Hugh Hill, Ph.D., a Harvard graduate who also served in World War II. ..and much, much more.

My idea came in an instant to write about the amazing talent of the street performers (buskers) who added so much enjoyment to my stay in that part of the country.

It was a total lark that I decided to enter my poem…what could it hurt…and I took maybe a couple of weeks of working on it before I sent it in.  So imagine my total, stunned disbelief when I was contacted by editor, Mark Durfee, where he announced that I had been chosen “The Editor’s Choice” for a special placement in the magazine.  Me?  It still hasn’t sunk in quite yet but I am so honored and very pleased to have achieved such status.

I really enjoyed the first issue of the magazine…a wonderful and very entertaining variety of writings.  I waited until the publication came out to post my poem.  Enjoy!

Here is the link to the first publication of Nain Rouge out today:

Google Images:   Brother Blue

Pedestrians gather
around a pavement stage,
a sidewalk garnered for a
busker’s play.

Strolling through Cambridge
in bustling Boston, a juggler’s
antics grab your attention.

Colorful garb and witty barbs
bring cheers from the crowd,
and deep, thankful bows.

Heading across the Charles River
on towards Harvard Square,
the sidewalk may offer up clowns
or mimes, comics or dancers,
a magical act or be-bop singers.

Here too you may have seen
Brother Blue…regaling those
gathered with storytelling hues…
his presence huge.  Wearing bright,
crazy (blue) costumes, painted,
animated face…drawing
you in with his wit and truth–
wisdom expounded like a
philosophy sage.

Following flights of stairs below,
the city regards a rare, melodic delivery;
the subway pace slowing for a moment.

Guitar case bared for any tossed
bills or change, we’re engaged
with an elegant interval…a Berklee
student picks out his chords.
Another act–drawing in
several waiting–a man sings
while strumming a mandolin…classy
execution to be found in this place.

The performers of Faneuil Hall
(and Quincy Market)
have their pitches
protected, free to capture
disparate niches.

Enchanting visitors with
expertise and grace, their
infectious exhibitions
delivered with taste.

Throughout the metro
setting is found
entertainment extraordinaire
of variety and renown.

Sometimes gritty,
sometimes sweetly
refined…these performers
enhance our endless, grey streets…
a busker’s heart adds soul to the city.


Bing Images:  Street Performer, Quincy Market

First published; Nain Rouge 2012

Brian Miller hosts tonight at dVerse Poets.    Happy to share at Open Link Night again after being out of town for a week:

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  1. I can see why it was chosen was “Editor’s Choice,” Gayle. This poem is so full of life and vitality. When I read it, all of my senses are engaged and you bring the street performers to life. So well done and the honor is so well deserved! Congratulations, my talented friend!


  2. well done, and accolades well deserved. I felt as if I was there.


    • Thank you so much…I really appreciate that. If you haven’t been, it’s a very fun city…but don’t go in the winter! 🙂


  3. Fabulous news … you go girl. A well deserved honor for you. Congrats ….!!!!
    This poem had me excited about Brother Blue. I wanted to get up and go and
    listen to his storytelling. This is a great write. no surprise it was chosen. Very
    well done …..


    • Thank you, Izzy, you are always so kind with your compliments. Well, I would have loved to have seen him again too but sadly he passed away a few years ago at age 80 something…I will never forget him.

      Namaste… xoxo


  4. Whoooo hoooo… many congratulations on being chosen for editor’s choice Gayle WTG you!
    This poem is so well deserving of that honour too. It is so alive with street life as lived by buskers like Brother blue. I love to hear a mandolin 🙂 This all reminds me of my hometown and all of its street performers. Some of them extremely talented.
    A lovely poem Gayle


  5. well done Gayle x x and many congrats, I am so pleased to hear of all your lovely news 🙂 ~ I loved the colours and the vibrancy of your poem ~ I so agree the buskers do bring a life ~ and colur any grey day ~ in London they have jumped on and off the tube and I so loved it ~ in Paris on the metro the same and in the subways and in Bath and convent garden so much colur and variety ~ thankyou for writng this Gayle and reminding x x x Lib


    • Many thanks, Lib…so you too have experienced a variety of buskers and the entertainment they add to a city…it’s just wonderful. And thanks for sharing your memories of them with me.
      Hugs…Gayle xo


  6. smiles…editors choice…it is a marvelous poem and really captures and brings to life a bit of magic….def congrats are in order….and i love buskers….i love listening to them…and hearing their stories….


    • I owe thanks to you, Brian, and to being a part of such a wonderfully supportive group as dVerse Poets…I appreciate you. Not too much of that going on here in the Orlando area…I would like to see more of it though…


  7. As bright and alive as the street entertainers themselves, no wonder you were chosen, congrats!


  8. Well done Gayle…your poem is so full of life and sounds of the place ~ And that last stanza is the clincher for me ~ Congrats again ~


  9. Heartiest congratulations on the pick 🙂 A beautifully lively poem.


  10. Woweee and congratulations! Wonderful piece–so full of life!!


  11. a wonderful jaunt through the city. Congrats on the pub, well deserved.


  12. Congratulations!!!!! This is awesome!


  13. Congratulations on having your poem singled out to be editor’s choice. I loved reading about all the street musicians. There does seem to be some real talent out there. So enjoyable to learn about Brother Blue.


    • Thank you, Mary. Yes, incredible talent all found on the street. I’ll never forget Brother Blue…he really made an impact on me.


  14. hedgewitch

     /  September 11, 2012

    This is really almost like a series of snapshots it’s so clear. Congratulations on getting it published!


  15. This was the first thing I read when I opened the magazine yesterday! Congratulations to you! This is a wonderful poem. My husband went to MIT and I have so many fond memories of Boston. This captures so much there, so well. A truly urban celebration of life. Thank you so much. It’s an honor to share the issue with you, and I want to thank you for all the kind remarks and comments you have given my work. It is very much appreciated!


    • It’s especially nice that there have been readers who have experienced the street entertainers of the Boston area themselves. It’s a great city filled with energy and so much to do…would love to go back some day.

      I so appreciate your complimentary words for me, Gay…it’s very generous of you. This was such an honor for me and I value the support of the wonderful group at dVerse. It has helped me grow and become more confident…an invaluable experience.

      Your writings are a pleasure to read…you’re very welcome.


  16. Congratulations Gayle! Well deserved. I went to the site and so nice to see you published there. I am still at a quandary about getting published but then I tried once many years ago to no avail so not sure if it is meant to be in any case…but I should only be giving you all the best as you have been such encouragement and now to have your wonderful writing be singled out is remarkable indeed. I commend you. Cheers! 🙂


    • Thank you so much, Renee. I’ve received such wonderful support from you and I appreciate that very much. Let me just say, that trying once many years ago and having it not work out…says nothing about the caliber of your work. It may take many tries with different publications. This was the second thing I have ever had published but then I don’t seek it out either. Joining in with the invitation to submit something was just to give it a try…I had no thoughts of being chosen out of the masses of excellent talent out there…but surprise! I would hope that you would try again…you may be pleasantly surprised yourself.

      Thank you again, my friend! xoxo


  17. congratulations on your publication, and the well-deserved selection as “The Editor’s Choice” ~ it was lovely to see you get the recognition in the company of so many other {wonderful as well} poets.

    i’ve never been fortunate enough to live in a city with buskers. it must be amazing ~ your poem certainly is.


    • You’re so kind…thank you, Dani…I appreciate your compliment. Yes, those street performers were really something…I loved that city. 🙂


  18. As fab as I knew it had to be! Love your work Gayle ~ clever editor 🙂 ~ congrats on publication and so glad I’m in there with you.


    • I’m glad you’re in there with me too…I love your poem, Polly…felt like being on a subway car…lots of fun. And thank you for your kind support.


  19. Emily

     /  September 12, 2012

    Hooray for Editor’s Choice! I can see why this was chosen. Alive and full of the excitement of the city and its myriad entertainments.


  20. Truly awesome…..It deserved to be Editor’s choice!

    swirl it round and round


  21. woohoo..congrats bodi…and so true…a busker’s heart adds soul to the city….so very true


  22. Yay! Congrats! Your poem was very ‘real’ and I felt like I was there with you, experiencing everything you described! Methinks you have a knack for storytelling, too, Gayle. 🙂


    • Thanks so much, Corina. I’m very happy that I was able to convey the fun and texture of those days in Boston and experiencing those street performers. And I rather like the idea of having a knack for storytelling…I’d like to keep that up. 🙂


  23. Such engaging characterization and descriptions, Gayle, full of the spirit of the busker! I can see why it was given such a distinction! Congratulations!


    • I’m happy my memory of those days came through…what fun…such a great city to explore. Many thanks for your kindness, Diane!


  24. Well done. Full of color, sights, and sounds. I’ve not seen many street performers, but you certainly brought them to life with your words.



  1. Nain Rouge ~ First Edition « Polly
  2. What would you do for £20 « Feeling Mandy

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