Menu

Poetry

When the concertmaster gestures to the oboe,
silence flutters through the massive hall.
Then comes the tuning up. Before that, though—
go back. Before the obedient violin falls
to his A, before the flutes, trombones,
and tuba head like horses in the same direction
to plow and plant one of Beethoven’s
great fields. Go back.
                                     Hear the nickering run
of a scale, the brash cymbal. A bright lash
of squeaks, the wigged-out chug of a bass viol,
scripscraps of bang and clank, a swirling flash
of flotsam. Go back to unselfconscious style
before style. A grace that’s not yet botched—
before they know they’re being heard or watched.


The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Access one piece of artwork every month for free! To experience the full archive, log in or subscribe.

Related Poetry

At Heaven’s Rim

By

U.Z. Greenberg

The Anxiety Offices

By

Lisa Russ Spaar

forest of straight pine trees full of light

Carol of the Christ Child’s Garden

By

David Brendan Hopes

Quantum Theory

By

Victoria Kelly

Pin It on Pinterest