Shield & Song


Be of ruin this rude maker.
Rubble be. Ruin be. Be not a stone.
Hellstone. Hailstone. Hellebore
Take root in the broken and bloom.
Bloom blood into bitter lake
Or let dirt drink its fill. The bee moans
In its thin cup. Pollen and trouble.
Mark it in bronze, poet. Grab the tool. Beat it.


Sing gold this chain’s scorched links.
Balm the scathed ear’s wounded tone by muting the dove’s
Limited cry, who or who or who or
Who into becoming so much less through the gray channel
Of her sun-lit sometimes radiant purple-flecked throat.
Beneath cloud a flake of green also moans. Makes moan.
Other heroes also pull their prisons in chains behind.
Heroes other than doves. A kind of poet. A kind of storm cloud. A wound.

*Listen to Dan discuss his “Shields & Songs” series here.

Dan Beachy-Quick is the author of five collections of poetry and a volume of interwoven essays on Moby Dick entitled A Whaler’s Dictionary. His third book of poems, Mulberry (2006), was a finalist for the prestigious Los Angeles Times Book Award. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado where he teaches in the Colorado State University MFA program.