Viola

Though you may be bigger,
and your timbre richer,
bolder and much deeper,
you’re the lesser brother.
True that you may be
the more elegant of the two,
still, your sounds are subtle,
so few notice you.
Not many know your name
or recognize your gifts,
let alone know you’re tuned
rather unusually—
perhaps at times it feels
as if you don’t exist.
You’re rarely the soloist
at the big concert hall;
and when people clap
they don’t clap for you,
they clap for the violin,
whose bright tones strike
an immediate delight.
But where would the others be
without your steady voice
holding the sound together,
not to mention the fact
you play those darker themes?
Alas, sad viola,
it doesn’t really matter
the accolades, the applause.
Let it be enough,
knowing you’ve been chosen
to sit on the shoulder
of a great musical master,
and play your given part,
if only for those listeners
listening for your voice
in the grand orchestra;
you’re lucky to be playing
the inner melody.

Jodie Hollander

Jodie Hollander

Jodie Hollander’s work has appeared in journals such as The Poetry Review, The Yale Review, PN Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry London, The Hudson Review, The Dark Horse, The New Criterion, The Rialto, Verse Daily, The Best Australian Poems of 2011, and The Best Australian Poems of 2015. Her debut full-length collection, My Dark Horses, is published with Liverpool University Press in the UK and Oxford University Press in the US. She currently lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Jodie Hollander

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Author: Jodie Hollander

Jodie Hollander’s work has appeared in journals such as The Poetry Review, The Yale Review, PN Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry London, The Hudson Review, The Dark Horse, The New Criterion, The Rialto, Verse Daily, The Best Australian Poems of 2011, and The Best Australian Poems of 2015. Her debut full-length collection, My Dark Horses, is published with Liverpool University Press in the UK and Oxford University Press in the US. She currently lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.