A family sings together at the hearth,
the father beating time with one hand
on the pages of an open book.
It’s an old song, one they’ve sung
so many times before that both
parents keep their eyes shut tight,
while the young man looks askance,
surprised to hear a deep voice,
clear as water, rising from his lips.
The music crests. At once,
the river breaks its banks,
drowning fields of uncut wheat.
He will follow that voice
up a thousand flights
and down, till the end
of the song.
—From the poet’s book manuscript Picture This, which is available
Three Musicians (An Allegory of the Sense of Hearing)*
Original oil on panel (ca. 1624-25) by Dutch Golden Age painter
Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) resides in
(New York), one of the world’s largest private collections
of Dutch art.
is the author of four books of poetry, including an ekphrastic chapbook, Balance (White Violet, 2012), and three collections: Narrow Bridge (Main Street Rag, 2019), Other-Wise (Kelsay, 2017), and A Likely Story (Moon Tide, 2014). She has also edited three anthologies: The Liberal Media Made Me Do It! (Nine Toes, 2014); Over the Moon: Birds, Beasts, and Trees, which was published as a special issue of Poemeleon Journal; and The Plague Papers, recently published online at Poemeleon Journal.
Her poems, reviews, essays, and articles have appeared widely in journals and anthologies, including Aeolian Harp VI, Book of Matches, Cultural Daily, Gargoyle, Live Encounters, Muddy River Review, North of Oxford, Rhino, Tampa Review, Tiferet, Verdad, and Verse-Virtual. She is an elected member of the Academy of American Poets.
Author’s website: www.robbinester.net
After Blossom, ekphrastic poem after an etching
by Phil Greenwood in MacQueen’s Quinterly (Issue 3, May 2020)
Three Poems by Robbi Nester in Verse-Virtual (January
of Attraction, ekphrastic poem after Van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the
Rhone, in Verse-Virtual (May 2019)
Night Tunnel, ekphrastic poem after a painting by Robert Rhodes,
Philadelphia Night Train, in The Ekphrastic Review (21 April 2016)
The Locusts, ekphrastic poem after a collage of the same name
by Mary Boxley Bullington, in The Ekphrastic Review (13 October 2015)