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An Opera House

 Within the gold square of the proscenium arch,
A curtain of orange velvet hangs in stiff folds,
Its tassels jarring slightly when someone crosses the stage behind.
Gold carving edges the balconies, Rims the boxes, Runs up and down fluted pillars.
Little knife-stabs of gold Shine out whenever a box door is opened.
Gold clusters Flash in soft explosions On the blue darkness, Suck back to a point, And disappear.
Hoops of gold Circle necks, wrists, fingers, Pierce ears, Poise on heads And fly up above them in coloured sparkles.
Gold! Gold! The opera house is a treasure-box of gold.
Gold in a broad smear across the orchestra pit: Gold of horns, trumpets, tubas; Gold -- spun-gold, twittering-gold, snapping-gold Of harps.
The conductor raises his baton, The brass blares out Crass, crude, Parvenu, fat, powerful, Golden.
Rich as the fat, clapping hands in the boxes.
Cymbals, gigantic, coin-shaped, Crash.
The orange curtain parts And the prima-donna steps forward.
One note, A drop: transparent, iridescent, A gold bubble, It floats .
floats .
And bursts against the lips of a bank president In the grand tier.

by Amy Lowell
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