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In The Museum

by James Shammas (Age: 53)
copyright 03-28-2005
Contest Winner

Age Rating: 7 +

My stroll down Fifth Avenue becomes a cadence,
A race towards the museum steps,
Up and through two heavy, reluctant doors.
Once there, desire yields to calm amid
The embrace of the still, silent darkness.
Edges soften inside, shimmer and slide,
Standing on sacred or fordidden ground,
Where we look, or perhaps are looked at.

Rembrandt's impasto scolds me for ogling
Bathsheba at her bath. His "Blinding of Sampson"
Seems to say, "You shall not see."
"I should not be here," I say, as I pass
The work of Max Beckman and Egon Schiele.
And Kandinsky's improvisations
"On the Spiritual in Art" raise me
Till I'm seized by Courbet's pallete knife
(Ashes to ashes, dust to dust)!
Do I expand or contract in front of
Pollock's "Galaxy?" Shut it all out
Or take it all in? More questions than answers, here.
Standing in front of Rubens, can I muster
The strength to go on and simply relax
In front of Chardin and Vermeer?
Humbling myself past Millet's peasants,
Will I reach the Promised Land of Cezanne?
And staring at Rothko's "Triptych,"
I wonder if I'm in Heaven or Hell
(I heard he committed suicide).

Was Thomas Mann right about Art?
The irony of it?
A violation or a surrender?
And have I shared or simply been spared,
Wondering if Eliot's Wasteland
Is out there or in here.

The museum guard taps me on the back.
It's closing time, and dropping Ariadne's thread,
I leave quietly to return another day.

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        07-05-2005     Sam Hackel-Butt        

Congradulations on winning! It's very impressive to see how much you know about art! I've only just recently became interested in museums, becaise I'm always looking for new ideas to either draw, or paint, as well as shading and coloring and such. It's also so beautiful to see timeless art displayed to be enjoyed by young and old. Love for museums certainly does come when you're older for most people.

Again, congrats!

        03-29-2005     Anthony Lane Stahlhut        

When I was very young(about 6 or 7), I use to go with my grandfather. He was the security officer at the college art gallery. I would spend 8 hours playing around and taking people on guided tours( they wouldn't pay and I am sure they were enjoying the "little kid" and pretending to ask questions). There really are so many interesting things at art gallerys. You just have to relax, slow down and really look around. This is a good write and a great trip down memory lane. Thanks, Anthony

        03-28-2005     David Pekrul        

I never thought one could write poetry about art that showed such exuberance. Art museums make me yawn, but after reading your piece, maybe I should try again.

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