Ring Around the Moon

Poems by Ellen McCulloch-Lovell

After Su Tung P’o
My second story window is green
Filled with fresh maple leaves
And sun falls below where day lilies
Along the roadside wave and fade. 

How soon the earth swings after solstice
And the sun past dinner fails.
Come now, close your book,
There will be dark enough and soon
To sit and study by your lamp.

First Frost
Dark time, it’s coming–
Ring around the moon,
Fire in the stove,
Plants in, herbs up;
First frost tonight.

Soup in the bowls and
Blankets on the bed.
Sun sinking early,
Sooner night, deeper in.
Stars cast in vast array. 

Green cells must freeze
Between midnight and the day,
Season of waiting, season of leaving.
Crying overhead. Dark, dark.
The great gray wings
stroke open the great gray sky.

Under the Black Glass
I can’t see out:
the hemlocks, birches
gone with that sliced moon
I saw before asleep.

The flannel on my face
proves I’m in bed: alright.
All else has disappeared.
The mind

under cover-lid
does not see yet
why trust this day.

Most of the Marlboro community knows Ellen McCulloch-Lovell as college president, and perhaps as a supporter of the arts through her past work as executive director of both the Vermont Arts Council and President Clinton’s Committee on Arts and Humanities. Fewer know her work as a poet, including a collection of poems titled Gone, published by Janus Press in 2011. Ellen completed her MFA in creative writing from Warren Wilson College in 2012, and taught a class at Marlboro last fall called The Poetry of Witness.