Beauty and the Beast

This reading was recorded by Alessandro Mistrorigo at Phonodia LAB in Venice, Italy, on the 18th of April, 2014.

Read by Rita Dove on 18 April 2014

Beauty and the Beast

Darling, the plates have been cleared away,
the servants are in their quarters.
What lies will lie down with tonight?
The rabbit pounding in your hearth, my

child legs, pale from a life of petticoats?
My father would not have had it otherwise
when he trudged the road home with our souvenirs.
You are so handsome it eats my hearth away . . .

Beast, when you lay stupid grief
at my feet, I was too young to see anything
die. Outside, the roses are folding
lie upon red lip. I miss my sisters–

They are standing before their clouded mirrors.
Gray animals are circling under the windows.
Sisters, don't you see what will snatch you up–
the expected, the handsome, the one who needs us?

from The Yellow House on the Corner (Pittsburgh: Carnegie Mellon University Press, © 1980 by Rita Dove). All rights reserved. Copying to other websites or any kind of reprint is a violation of international copyright laws and strictly forbidden.

Share this Poem with your co-workers or friends