Guest Poet Matthew W. Beale

Athens, Georgia; Spring Afternoon

My turning shadow intersects with
burdened lines of brilliant sunflowers
cutting through chaotic banks of red clay to

The bus stop with which I stand is bathed
in a bleaching starshine and nearby,
children dance and form a halo around a
fading chalked figure in the dirty, porous

A noisy cat languidly swats an
empty rum bottle, and recalling
a burned down house a few blocks away,
I choose to walk through the southern
heat, lifting my hand pensively to smell my

And turning to find a staircase, chiseled and
stunted, connected to a forsaken foundation,
I ascend the ruins that lead to dreams of Elysian
fields of crimson poppy, and the sweetest song of the

December, 1997

Matthew W. Beale's Questions:

The imagistic usage of red clay is a central fixation in many of my poetic sketches, and other writings. Does red clay have any meaning to you, and does it convey anything in the opening of this piece?

A judge for a writing contest once commented to me; "In many ways you're work is by far the most fascinating and rich, but there's just not enough of it." Does there seem to be "enough of it" here for you?

What does the closing mean to you?

Thank you.

Correspond with Matthew W. Beale at
with your ideas about this poem.

The Albany Poetry Workshop