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Arts Alive Blog


Arts Alive Poetry Contest Entries: Odes to the Hollywood Bowl

Posted By: Kelsey McConnell · 4/30/2013 2:23:00 PM

Earlier this month, Arts Alive announced its first ever Poetry Contest. We asked you to help us celebrate National Poetry Month by sending us poems about music and Southern California. We'll be posting entries here on the Arts Alive blog all week and Brian Lauritzen will pick one to read this Saturday on Arts Alive. Yesterday we posted poems that capture the experience of listening to Los Angeles. Today, poems that take us to one of the great Los Angeles music venues: the Hollywood Bowl.

Hollywood Bowl Haiku
by Michael Kelly

The freeway offers
Her dissonant counterpoint,
Outside the band shell


The Hollywood Bowl
by Basha Yonis

In the city synonymous with fake,
whose landmark is a re-purposed advertisement,
there is a natural hollow, a bowl, now shaped, paved, enhanced, amplified.
No sterile isolation chamber, but open to the elements of modern life
such as airplanes and helicopters.

The patrons are invited to dine,
adding to the music talk and laughter
and, during the quietest of passages, the ubiquitous rolling wine bottle.



Rehearsal at Hollywood Bowl
by Ruth Adams

The August afternoon draws down
warm and humid in the sun
Yellowjackets in the hedges
explore among the leaves.
They've seen it all before.

One by one musicians saunter onto the stage
to noodle or to visit in their chairs.
They too know the drill.

The sun drops lower:
five o'clock at last.
The visiting maestro, erstwhile wunderkind,
assumes his place.
Rehearsal begins.

The music fits the afternoon:
evening rays that sift through pines
dusting everything with light.

The well known score needs no review
but the conductor seeks his own nuance
in certain passages.
In confidence they work together:
he, the orchestra and soon the teen age soloist.
As she wields her bow,
displays remarkable command and presence,
does he remember?
Does he think at all of his first time
upon a podium facing a seasoned troupe?

A dragonly zooms in
to trace erratic circles overhead
mocked by a helicopter
over hills behind the shell.

Wrapped in concentration and the spell of genius
the rehearsal works its way to climax,
fulfilling its alloted time.

Performance tomorrow night at eight.


The Bowl
by Mark H. Stevens

Summer in the Land of Perpetual Summer
Evokes a time of anticipation:
Multitudes of children awaiting
The surf, sand, or playground,
Freed from their scholastic confines
And academic restraints;
Parents planning stimulating vacations
To brunt the boredom
Of vacuous time unoccupied by activity;
Employees toiling under the
Frustrating consignations to
Indoor prisons,
While extended daylight
Lures them into lethargic daydreams,
Where the dream overshadows the reality.
Yet, the Citizens from the Land of Perpetual Summer
Are universally cognizant of a condition
Unique to its setting:
The annual Pilgrimage to the Hill,
Giving Homage to the Bowl.

Here, is provided the temperate breezes,
Warm, balmy evenings,
Star-kissed skies,
Spectacular natural beauty,
Light refreshments,
And a riposte
To the rigors of the day.
Here, the People congregate:
Wealthy and impoverished,
From all races,
And ethnicities,
And origins,
And socio-economic backgrounds.
Here, Music, the Entertainer,
Becomes the Great Leveler.
Here, sound overwhelms sight.
Here, imagination imparts
A sense of security
For those who dare to Dream.
Merely close your eyes:
Those who are far are now near,
Those near even closer.
The Maestro is the Maker of Music Magic,
Preceded by his magisterial,
Tomes of Wisdom,
Universally applicable,
Yet personally received.
The Bowl‘s dispensation
Is unique to each of
The Citizens from the Land of Perpetual Summer,
Yet, imparts enjoyment;
Points of Reference and Reflection
In a complex and challenging
Urban setting;
Peace for the Soul
In troubling times;
Opportunities to partake
In something greater
Than oneself;
And, for brief and fleeting moments,
Secure in the cradle of
A commonality of experience
And personal statement:  happiness;
This, in itself,
Is worth the
Pilgrimage and the Homage.

The Bowl mirrors its surroundings,
Realizing it, too, must yield
To the progress of cyclical seasons,
Casting off its facade
For the seasonal slumber,
Bidding its partakers,
Citizens, all,
To return.
They slowly descend
With Hope for another season,
Awash in the majesty
Of Imagination and Natural Beauty.
Now, the Bowl is empty.
The Hill is quiet.
Pleasant Voices of Memory
Permeate its facade,
Hopefully anticipating
The Return.

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