“Nautilus” by Gus Peterson

Gus Peterson


It was a pulled thread,
a sinew strung with strain,
tune looped round our head:
make America great again.

Words we sang ourselves
as self we unmade;
a beautiful falling felled,
greatness great again.

The wind and cold are keen;
frost thorns my clattering pane.
The night is long and lean
and I awake again.

Press to ear this chambered shell.
Hear the roar of the shade.
Down deep where whales swell,
where songs are made.

Poets Respond
January 17, 2017

[download audio]


Gus Peterson: “I live near Edwin Arlington Robinson’s Tilbury Town, and I’ve been struggling to write recently about current events—the revelations about the American landscape have thrown many of my assumptions from their fulcrum. I admire the ability of Robinson’s spare rhymes in his shorter pieces to communicate enduring themes, and have endeavored here to encapsulate my feelings in that spirit.”

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