Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

John Samuel Tieman: Variations

I spent all week revising a poem 

that didn’t work

it was like trying to make a fire

.

out of wet wood and sand

like trying to graft a vein 

from my mother’s arm

.

all to no avail until I heard the history

of the Huberman Stradivarius 

how it was stolen and painted

.

with shoe polish to hide it 

so the thief could play it in public 

how someone once used that violin 

.

as an ashtray

the thief on his deathbed repented 

and the instrument was restored

.

tonight in a symphony hall I’ve known

since I was a boy I heard 

Joshua Bell play the Bruch G minor 

.

concerto on that very Stradivarius

I searched for a word as nimble

as the allegro –  milkweed or eyelid

.

cadenza or thread – a word to make

me naked as a woman in labor

arrogant as a November rain

.

but to no avail because tonight

as I write this poem 

and throw away that draft

.

this is all I know this week of art

a Stradivarius used as an ashtray

an adagio a thief once loved


Copyright 2019 John Samuel Tieman

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This entry was posted on July 11, 2019 by in Music, Poetry and tagged , , .

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