Shield & Song


Deluges of lethe.
Cannot shake at noon sleep
From eyes. In eyes. See snake
Awake in the wet lock of grass.
Grasp the thought by the tail and wait.
Mistook a cloud for a woman.
Weeps the same. In mist lost
The same. Hand of no refuge.


Image of the gorgon’s eyes into bronze beaten,
Eyes no man can see. Image of Cyclops
Chanting yes as he hammers thunder into a bolt.
Imagine the far west deeps where in ocean dragons roam.
Image of the dragon’s teeth in dry ground sown.
Awful beauty of the shields. Cannot say wait
So mime the monster back to fury’s face forever
If forever could be real. Solace of eyes
Other eyes hide behind. Lightning’s light. Refuge of stone.

*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.