Shield & Song


Omen. Ailment. What
The prayer moment intones.
The god-itch. And the electric fields
When spring plugs yellow in and water sings.
Bring the cup. Bring the potsherd.
Read the broken name. The
Moon is an example of the
Shut door seeking a key. Wild sea. Open.


Closed circuit of the war chant: What what what.
Words go on forever even after the mouth singing them dies.
Like some god singing in the air. Of clouds. Of horses.
Of wild manes in fog. Of tails tipped in mist.
Before sleep the child speaks: you can’t bite rocks
Or you get broke teeth. You can’t bite knives.
Moon is too hard. Sun too hot. The sky
Is a hut god built, that’s all. Floating above the sea.

*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.