1. Home
  2. Poetry Magazine
  3. Poems
  4. Two Violins by A. E. Stallings
Two Violins

Related Poem Content Details

One was fire red,   
Hand carved and new—
The local maker pried the wood
From a torn-down church's pew,

The Devil's instrument
Wrenched from the house of God.
It answered merrily and clear
Though my fingering was flawed;

Bright and sharp as a young wine,
They said, but it would mellow,
And that I would grow into it.
The other one was yellow

And nicked down at the chin,
A varnish of Baltic amber,
A one-piece back of tiger maple
And a low, dark timbre.

A century old, they said,
Its sound will never change.
Rich and deep on G and D,
Thin on the upper range,

And how it came from the Old World
Was anybody's guess—
Light as an exile's suitcase,
A belly of emptiness:

That was the one I chose
(Not the one of flame)   
And teachers would turn in their practiced hands
To see whence the sad notes came.

Source: Poetry (June 2008)

More from this issue

This poem originally appeared in the June 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine. Search the whole site

Two Violins

Related Poem Content Details

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine. Search the whole site

Other Information