Sometimes writing gets a bit squirrely...

Form strictures can stimulate creativity, rather than thwart it.


WORD BUILDING Sestina 2020


Did you ever stop to think what really makes a building?

The easy answers are steel and oak and glass and stone.

But there are structures without gutters that a squirrel

can invade, scrabble over and stay trapped in until it’s found dead

when you clean out the leaves in the springtime light.

(After a job like that, you need a good scrub in the basement sink.)

You start with a fearless foundation that you sink

into the ground so deep that no matter what hits it, the building

won’t budge. You’ll face it in marble, showing East to catch the light.

Every pedestrian will know your name from the corner stone.

What a monument to leave for your daughter when you’re dead!

If you are not too extravagant, you still have time to squirrel

away more gold than the piles and piles of nuts a squirrel

lays by in the fall. Outfit the kitchen with a simple farmer’s sink.

Employ classic motifs found in the tombs of dead

Egyptians. Never forget that you are building

a tribute to your well-lived life, not a tomb stone

to hold your body down. You will keep it light.

For winter, you will want a fireplace for light,

to keep you warm and snug as a hibernating squirrel,

with shiny brass andirons and a hearth of ancient stone.

In the spring mud, your boots will likely sink

unless you use more stones for a path to the building,

not caring that the grass beneath them will be dead.

Every night when the world outside is dead

quiet, you will write by the home fire’s light.

Warm inside, you and your love are building

dreams and telling your baby tales of Squirrel

Nutkin and Benjamin Bunny as you bathe her in the sink,

her toes so pink and her eyes blue as a sapphire stone.

The house you write is stronger than oaken timbers and stone

walls. For the trees used to frame houses are dead

and the nails that you counter-sink

are steely cold. Writing is made from life. The light

of your words comes warmly, quick and soft as the tail of the squirrel

that lived in the oak: Poems more sturdy than any building.

The poet in the mirror may sink from view, but the words stay like a stone

or glass or marble building standing long after the dead

writer is buried, reflecting light bright as a penny, nimble as a squirrel.


© Marilyn Rea Beyer

5.17.2020


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This poem originated at the Salem Athenaeum...Nathaniel Hawthorne's old hangout. Today it's a haven for new writers. Show your support: http://salemathenaeum.net/support/donations/


We Will Not be SilencedIndieBlu(e) Poetry Anthology... contains three of my poems and hundreds of others by writers I admire. Now in print and Kindle on amazon.com.


Subtitled "The Lived Experience of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Told Powerfully through Poetry, Prose, Essay and Art," this book is neither screed nor pity party. Rather, it’s a positive, powerful platform to give voice to people who have been sexually exploited, abused, treated as invisible.Listen and believe them.

Click for a short video:

Marilyn Rea Beyer Poetry

This one hit me observing my city hit by COVID-19

The Disappearing Man or Resist the Inevitable

The disappearing man did not select his fate.

It was no vanishing act

intended to impress.

He wished to remain intact

to arise and bathe and dress,

to chalk in another square, mark off just one more date.


Sudden stilled Earth would like to continue to turn.

What a clumsy sleight of hand,

beyond the angels’ touch,

bent under the gods’ demand

for pestilences and such,

that bade humanity embrace the ashen urn.


You, be fierce. Defy the sanitary dying.

Stand upon on your balcony

and shout and cheer and sing.

Rise up in cacophony.

Make the invisible ring.

Be seen to have courage. Be heard to be living.


©Marilyn Rea Beyer

Also: Follow the strong words of strong women in Whisper and the Roar. Two of my poems were published during June '18. Click on the poem titles to read To Live Like Shakespeare and I Never Feared Death.