Cambridge Book Review

[Issue #14, Winter 2007-2008]

Canto 81 The crow and the jay

R. Virgil Ellis


The crow and the jay croak
out of sleeplessness.
The breakfast nook surrenders
to the opening and clear wise
subtleties of morning light
shadowing by imperceptible degrees
our shell-game of toast and coffee.


Was it in the night the opening came?
Wayfarers gathered there,
walked from light-filled rooms.
Long into the night their voices bloomed.
The nightwatch heard with even pace.
The soft-spoken one declared
this is for all to share:
let there be no desiring in this joy
let there be no toying with this gift.
Then fire curved up from their gathering
and hovered above them.
The waiting fields knew that heat
and sent up plants with feathery blooms.


what I want to say
opens out past words
crosses to where the tremolo in the spine
sharpens sense
to an edge of perception so fine
the eyes close, no body sway
or meeting of eyes
can touch it
as when the strains in the last quartet
tense to a filament
drawn so thin molecular beads
shine on a skin of silence

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R. Virgil (Ron) Ellis lives near Cambridge, Wisconsin. He is Associate Editor of Rosebud magazine as well as its art director and web author. His chapbook Bone Flute has just been published by Parallel Press. He has numerous print publications as well as CD's and DVD's of his performance poetry. His most recent release is a CD entitled The Story of Andro: A Rock Cantata, reviewed by Wendy Vardaman in a forthcoming issue of Free Verse. His site is


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