The Orchestra and Chorus from Soweto

By Ann Robinson

A bicycle wire for a violin string,

bow, an arch slide of winnowed wood,

and now the fingers listen.

A child with a swat stick conjures

music on garbage lids, the voices calling

from windows, crowded alleys, a tenement moon.

Stiff combat, a hundred strokes in torpid heat

creates orchestra.

Altos, gleaming mouths, singing now

from the grasslands,

wild hooves buried inside the voices,

hands clapping.

Lean into the stride:

three clear sopranos, seven tenors,

clarity of youth and brown eyes.

Beauty on a cello wire drumming through dirt.

Some say art from the underground,

some call it prayer.


After receiving a B.A. in English literature from Lindenwood University, Ann Robinson attended the M.F.A. program at the University of Arkansas. In addition to owning a farming operation in Arkansas, she is also a legal clerk in the Criminal Division of the Superior Court of Marin County, California. She had been the recipient of the John Spaemer Award for Outstanding Fiction, a Marin Arts Council grant, and a scholarship to study at a Hofstra University conference. She’s also studied with Kathleen Fraser, Miller Williams, and Thomas Centolella.

Her work has appeared in American Literary Review, Coe Review, Compass Rose, Connecticut Review, Diverse Voices Quarterly, The GW Review, Fourteen Hills, Freshwater, Natural Bridge, New York Quarterly, Passager, Poet Lore, The Portland Review, RiverSedge, Sanskrit, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Spoon River Poetry Review, Weave Magazine, Willow Review, and Zone 3, among others.

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