Partial Birth ©

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written August 9th, 2008

Listen here to my reading of “Partial Birth” 


Someone big took an ax, and chopped the moon
Exactly in half, the surviving truncation
Fleeing across the star-mangled heavens,
And making the whole below-world vivid
With silvery graininess.  After that,
Everything became important, and a
Strange music burst from the pores of leaves.
A desperate contest was raging, the fight
Conducted through surrogates, gigantic
Horses lying at the feet of each of the four
Combatants: One, wounded, and breathing
Heavily; one, in the throes of birth; one,
Laughing, and only cloudily visible;
And one, a female, rising in dangerous
Flight.  What happened from then on was
Both beautiful and deadly, brutal and filled
With magic.  A drum snare, a crash,
The woman returning with arrows.
The cloudy one becoming someone
We once knew.  The horse on the ground,
Disemboweled now, and screaming.
The pregnant one delivering an animal
Full-grown and wet with dew.  We wake up,
Cowled in placental sweat.  Everything
In the house is galactic, and small, and quiet.
Yet something decisively brings us to our feet.
We go outside.  And there, in the grass,
Is the other half of the moon.

Discovery ©

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written April 10th, 2007

Listen here to my reading of “Discovery”:


Two hours from now, near dawn, the moon,
Half wasted, will rise, very late, and be chased
All day across the blue-bright sky, ignored
By every one, but the sun, which will seek
In vain to embrace her.  This is shame, writ-large,
The essence of sickness, the sky that shuffles
Vast intensities of darkness over our sleepless
Heads, through a night, whose primary symptom
Is its interminableness, its one unendurable
Mantra the vile promise that each minute
Will seem like an hour, stretching us from misery
To misery with the phrase: On and on and on
And on and on . . . all of our discomfort screaming at us:
“Escape!”  And so we struggle, like a panicked
Animal whose movements merely tighten
A razored snare.  It is here, just here
That we find the opening — the sense that says
“Lie still, and spin the thread, the inner thread
Of fine and endless gold.”  And so we spin and spin.
They are so tiny, these filigrees of preciousness
Ascending our spines in intricate elongations
That rise and fall and rise so placidly.
What is happening to us, that darkness, deepened,
Births itself as light, and weaves from our
Weakened body this spell of glory whose very
Ephemeralness is more imperishable
Than garish, boastful day or ancient night?