Dana Gioia

(24 December 1950 / Hawthorne, California)

Guide to the Other Gallery


This is the hall of broken limbs
Where splintered marble athletes lie
Beside the arms of cherubim.
Nothing is ever thrown away.

These butterflies are set in rows.
So small and gray inside their case
They look alike now. I suppose
Death makes most creatures commonplace.

These portraits here of the unknown
Are hung three high, frame piled on frame.
Each potent soul who craved renown,
Immortalized without a name.

Here are the shelves of unread books,
Millions of pages turning brown.
Visitors wander through the stacks,
But no one ever takes one down.

I wish I were a better guide.
There's so much more that you should see.
Rows of bottles with nothing inside.
Displays of locks which have no key.

You'd like to go? I wish you could.
This room has such a peaceful view.
Look at that case of antique wood
Without a label. It's for you.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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Comments about this poem (Guide to the Other Gallery by Dana Gioia )

  • Veteran Poet - 2,704 Points Terry Craddock (8/12/2014 9:07:00 PM)

    An appealing thought provoking poem, I presume the 'case of antique wood' in the room with 'such a peaceful view' is a coffin, I think I prefer to be dust in the wind and avoid this collection. :) (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 773 Points Leslie Philibert (8/12/2014 10:17:00 AM)

    Excellent write, from an, I assume, established poet.. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 866 Points Liliana ~el (8/12/2014 9:37:00 AM)

    Very descriptive. Intense, sinister, dark. Depth of reality without hope, light, nor vision for change. Well written scene and mentality. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 3,431 Points Douglas Scotney (8/12/2013 8:44:00 PM)

    Not able to go. Why these places can leave you depressed. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,849 Points Kevin Patrick (8/12/2012 2:55:00 PM)

    This appeals to the emotions abandon the perceptions of poetic verse and just read the text, it heightens the senses further if you just read and allow it to be whatever you want it to be. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Walter Durk (9/26/2007 8:48:00 PM)

    I like this poem, but the rhyme scheme is not very appealing to me. (Report) Reply

Read all 6 comments »

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