13.4 (Summer 2009)   The 2River View AuthorsPoemsPDFMake a bookArchives2River

E. Louise Beach


There's nothing in the room
tonight but you and me
and our pure silence
tall as trees
in a European wood.

Bats fly,
black angels dispersing,
coming closer.

In love with the man
in the moon
and snow,
we sleep together
but cannot speak;
eat the quiet with meager,
gnaw-toothed spoons;
exist between tides,
waiting for visions.

You burn like a saint.
I burn, too.

On cobbles, anemones
and sea stars between seas.

Tout un hiver sans feu

Film set in a Swiss canton. The camera
pans charred timbers, a desolate farmer,
cold on cold. The pretty young wife

no longer eats or talks. Holding hands
beneath wool coats on our laps, we
dream bleating cattle, screams, a stable door

jammed. Can any grief equal the grief
of losing a child? It will sleet tonight
while we are sleeping. He drove over

hard-packed snow to visit her in the clinic.

E. Louise Beach, in collaboration with the composer Bryan Page, is the author of The White Princess.
Based on Rilke’s play of the same name, the 22 poem song-cycle will be performed in Los Angeles 
in 2010. Beach is also a translator and literary critic. contact