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Music in Black and White
Emily Strauss

Large windows frame gold-dry hills
Across the valley from the modern
Art museum in black and white
The audience in white and black:
Dark pants, light shirts
White hair, older, subdued
Appreciative as the sound
Echoes from white walls, black
Frames, duotone photographs.
The exhibit: black pen on paper
Acrylic on wood
The music: zen
Flute plays a few stray notes,
Casual improvisation, a break:
Laughter rises, more chairs
More people, students
Children, locals and tourists
Gallery lighting bright white.
The space unfurls within
The sound textures, molded
Layers, the flute multiplies
Music shifts, fades— then
Talk, the audience waiting.
Next some piano rising and
Falling, tones like floating
Bubbles touch the paintings’
Painted surfaces, white
Faces, black chairs in rows.
Some viewers just strolling
Come for the art, others
Snooze sprawled on the floor.
It’s dark outside when we leave:
White moon on the black hills.
© by Emily Strauss.
Used with the author’s permission.



Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry, which she has written since college. More than 550 of her poems appear in a wide variety of online venues and in anthologies, in the U.S. and abroad. The natural world of the American West is Emily’s usual framework; she also considers the narratives of people and places around her. Emily is a retired teacher and lives in Oregon with a small dog and a black cat.


Post New Comment:
Janet Leahy:
The poem: zen, like the music, like the art, like the experience as the poem unfurls, lovely. Thanks, Emily
Posted 06/23/2012 07:42 AM

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