Yes, I recall that January night
when, ushered from your room into the hall,
and restless for the nurse’s slightest call,
I reread dated news by night-dimmed light,
and listened for your voice into the night,
and traced the jagged lines that marred the wall,
and knew for once I mattered not at all.
I only hoped that things would turn out right.

Then I remembered what had passed as true
and hearing from your room no anguished cries,
I realized your pain would not break through,
for such indulgence your whole self denies.

And when our child emerged as wholly new,
I felt in love a strength to split the skies.



I’d worshipped Lorca, idolled Hemingway
before I came down from the Middlewest
expecting much of what I saw that day,
Medieval pageantry in satin dress.

But nothing could prepare me for the rest:
the piercing of the spike to wound the bull,
the driving of the lance as if to test
unwanted meekness, thick blood gushing full
to cloak the shoulders, rivulets of red
against the sable sides that seemed, instead
of evil, innocence, and then the full
thrust of the sword behind the lowered head,
exposing, with the bellow of the bull
dull confusion as the beast fell dead.


Duane Carr was born in eastern Kansas, worked on the railroad in Colorado, then attended college, later teaching at the University of New Orleans and Western Kentucky University. He has published a novel, The Bough of Summer, a critical book on Southern literature, A Question of Class, as well as articles and poetry in such periodicals as The Texas Anthology, The Arizona Quarterly and Western Humanities Review. He currently lives in the Ozarks with his writer wife, Pat Carr, three dogs, one cat, and nine chickens.

These poems are among the entries for the Society of Classical Poets’ 2012 Poetry Competition.

NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here.

One Response

  1. Elena

    Your poem ”Birth” is very beautiful, especially the last lines:

    ”And when our child emerged as wholly new,

    I felt in love a strength to split the skies.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.