Chain Reaction, The Sleep of Reason, Desire Path
Par ung seul clou perd on ung bon cheval.
John Gower, Confessio Amantis c. 1390
A single lapse
can create cascading
slope, camel’s nose
in the tent.
are better seen
When I lied, I took
my first false step.
of the nucleus.
The Sleep of Reason Brings Forth Monsters
The poet sleeps; pen and paper
idle on the table.
Inky cats, owls, and bats menace his mind.
El sueño de la razón.
Natives flee from shattered villages,
seeking respite from war—
its amputation, annihilation, grief.
Black fowl feed
on gutted wounds.
The temper of end times:
Capricious torture, pillage, rape
make beasts of us all.
“I am just going outside and I may be some time.”
Lawrence Oates, the Scott expedition to the Pole, 1912
The meadow is lush with winter grass
and leavings where the cows have been.
I am secretly off-path, through the gate,
over the stile. No one can find me,
hidden by the furze-covered hill.
Insignificant, I call the creek,
Creek, the field, Field, wind, Wind,
and think of another who strayed:
the explorer who sacrificed himself
to save three starving companions.
Ill, having slowed the progress of the group,
he left the tent, bootless in a blizzard.
No sun to guide him, spatial compass awry,
he moved into unseen land and sky.
He wandered his self-hewn way
to alight on whiteness.
A lyric poet, critic and translator, E. Louise Beach also creates libretti. Her song cycles, The White Princess and Ophelia’s Flowers will be performed in 2011 in Manhattan and at the Festival for Women in Music at the Eastman School of Music, respectively. She has recently been published in The Evansville Review , DMQ Review (Pushcart Nominee), and Rosebud , among others. Her first collection of poems, Blue Eyes, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2006.