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Globe poetry: Grendel’s Mother by Paul Vermeersch Add to ...

A monster is uncontainable in form. My son

cannot contain himself. He has too many,

is too much. He can’t be filled because he flings

himself wide at the slightest brush.


He is a spill. His fear is monstrous, too. Just try

to calculate the scale – the nightmares

nightmares have – how in his mind the count

from flash to thunderclap is always zero.


Whose name is that? A monster’s glance is one-way.

There is no in. So build your halls to keep him out,

to measure him against the measured walls –

whittle your little sticks and look away.


I sing at him. He makes a face. I show him

my paintings of stallions that gallop. Dream, my son,

I say, of their hoof beats. “Hoot-beasts!” he cries,

and spills again, uncontained, the gore of his judgments.

To mark National Poetry Month, Globe Arts will publish original new poems throughout the month of April.

Paul Vermeersch is a poet, artist, editor, and teacher. His five books of poetry include The Reinvention of the Human Hand and Don’t Let It End Like This Tell Them I Said Something. He lives in Toronto.

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