What Music Do We Hear?

by Nancy Gordon

With only one full afternoon
to explore the Chicago Art Institute
I looked for the Impressionists room
and, on my way to that array,
found Picasso’s Old Guitarist.
Stunned, I could not leave him.
He filled my eyes
as Wallace Stevens filled my mind. 
“They said, ‘You have a blue guitar, 
You do not play things as they are.’ “
“The man replied. ‘Things as they are
are changed upon the blue guitar.’ “
But the guitar was brown.
All else was blue–the man,
the setting, his arm reaching down.
I got no further that afternoon
than The Old Guitarist and his tune.
And I wondered, as I looked and listened,
spellbound, if we ever know how things are
except as they’re played on our own guitars,
in whatever colors we choose and play
to celebrate our motley tunes.

Long Listed Poem 

Poetry Society of Vermont, 2024 The Mountain Troubadour