Daily Archives: July 16, 2016

Listening To “Deportee” Being Sung At A Rally

How deftly she moved
through the changes — her fingers
on the strings, her face 
in moving shadow — her voice
a deep incantation, first
sweet as cool dawn,
shifting toward the sound
of a stream in full flood still
just within its banks, ending in a spill
of soft clarity —

all this before
the police dragged her
from the sidewalk
and hurled her brick-hard into 
the side of the cruiser, calling her
officiously a Commie, a terrorist,
a mistake, an insult — building
that dam against all she’d 
set to flowing
just seconds before —

one of the cops
snatched her guitar
(almost gently)
from her hands as they did this
as if he believed that it
could not be blamed
for what was happening here
and did not deserve the treatment
they were meting out —

handed it
(to the surprise of all)
to another in the crowd — 

as the police
took her away
another set of fingers
began to work
those bereft strings
and other voices took up
that same song


Link to a video of Judy Collins’ version of this song here.