Image by Louise Dickinson-Brown
By Lewis Turco
In the lowlands lie his reaches,
in the salt-queaches. Fogs and fen
she inhabits. Horrid by day
deep in his delvings where he sleeps
hard by his mother, by moongleam
he is most monstrous, most ugsome.
Night's eye closes as he clointers,
shambling through shallows to find food —
this scaly fiend, this feared foeman,
eater of carls, doomed damerel,
great gunsel. Why do his hungers
cause him to clamber from the deeps,
the tide's womb, to forbidden flesh,
the meat of men? It is not meet
he should hound us in the meadhall
under the alecask as we neeze
fleering in dream, noddles bobbing.
We whommel and wake — ah! the wight
has us in hand! The cumberworld
slobbers and slavers. Snithe his breath
upon our napes! His fingers prog;
his fangs are fastles on our flesh —
then home to mother through the mirk,
to the dark dens at the deep's verge,
there to drowse while the daylight lies
on barrow and beach and gull-buoy.
From an unpublished manuscript, A Book of Beasts, poems by Lewis Turco, illustrations by Louise Dickinson-Brown; the poems may be found in Fearful Pleasures: The Complete Poems of Lewis Turco 1959-2007, Scottsdale, AZ: www.StarCloudPress.com, 2007. ISBN 978-1-932842-19-7, cloth; ISBN 978-1-932842-20-3, paper. Also available in a Kindle edition.