Vox Populi

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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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