Gary Langford

Image by Gary Langford

Reflections on the Beast

Gary Langford

Reflections on the Beast

Gary Langford

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.


Gary Langford

Gary Langford Reading from his Poems


2The Women of our Family

3The Men of Our City

4This Morning

5Reflections on the Beast

6The Family Takes a Commercial Break


8TV Stars Week

9But I Didn't


11From the Burns Unit

1221 Pieces of Advice on the Path to Wisdom

13Tom Paine 1946-

14Plan of Strange City

15I Say, You Say

16Parrot Lady

17At Writers Week

18History of Air

19Sheep in the Bay

20Flight of the Albatross


22Alike 23Eggs

24Youth V Age

25Now That You've Gone

2613 Ways of Looking at Food

27Make War Not Love

28Baby Crying on an Autumn Morning

29What to Do in a Planecrash

30Being Old



33The Garden


35Glassroom Hill



38Determined Thought

39The Scholar Investigates a Classroom Crime


Books by Gary Langford