Reflections on the Beast

Reflections on the Beast

I had trouble forming your picture last night.
A wind was blowing up from your grave.
It closed all windows with a crash.
It swirled and tossed across the hills.
I pieced together a pale shadowy woman,
A woman who swelled up near death,
As though secretly you wanted to explode,
But didn't know how.

Then I remembered your story of the beast,
The one who came crawling out of family photographs,
Popping up at reunions with an idiot smile.
The one who took children and mangled them in its jaws.
The one who was God's Army for God and Devil were one.
The one who talked behind its hands when you walked the streets.
The one who took you out of school to become a Swampmother.
The one who gave you shock treatment for post-natal depression.
The one who tapped at the window when you sat alone,
Singing knickknack paddywack, give the beast a bone.
The one who laughed and laughed, and grinned and grinned,
As you looked in the mirror and saw the beast within.

I remembered the beast in your eyes in those years,
Nothing eyes, only in storms did they come alive.
Some die in these storms, others commit suicide.
This worried you most of all.
You could not root the beast out.
You offered it flesh. It ate flesh.
You offered it milk. It drank milk.
You offered all you had.
The beast took you, bored with games.
It sang, tralala, tralala, and moved on.


from The Pest Exterminator's Shakespeare (Macarthur Institute Press, 1984), © Gary Langford 1984, used by permission of the author.

Recordings

Gary Langford

Gary Langford Downloads

1Introduction

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2The Women of our Family

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3The Men of Our City

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4This Morning

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5Reflections on the Beast

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6The Family Takes a Commercial Break

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7Pastoral

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8TV Stars Week

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9But I Didn't

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10Detention

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11From the Burns Unit

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1221 Pieces of Advice on the Path to Wisdom

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13Tom Paine 1946-

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14Plan of Strange City

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15I Say, You Say

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16Parrot Lady

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17At Writers Week

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18History of Air

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19Sheep in the Bay

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20Flight of the Albatross

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21Parable

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22Alike

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23Eggs

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24Youth V Age

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25Now That You've Gone

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2613 Ways of Looking at Food

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27Make War Not Love

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28Baby Crying on an Autumn Morning

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29What to Do in a Planecrash

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30Being Old

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31Rainwoman

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32Fishbone

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33The Garden

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34She

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35Glassroom Hill

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36Migrants

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37Nightwalk

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38Determined Thought

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39The Scholar Investigates a Classroom Crime

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40Travelers

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Books by Gary Langford