Two poems by George Ella Lyon

Someone wails / in the basement / of my dream. / Amid the wailing / I hear a welter of water.



I race down stairs
                steeper, darker
                               than those in
                                       my waking house.

Someone wails
                in the basement
                                of my dream.

Amid the wailing
I hear a welter of water.
                                   I thread through
                   three turns
                                   to the bathroom,
                   three turns
                                   to see

my dark-suited husband and son
standing side by side in the shower.

Side by side both cry, facing me,
but it is my son who is wailing.

The threshold won’t let me pass.
All I can do is witness

how they remain clothed, how
they do not turn to each other.



Our Lady of Consolation

robed in a bride’s dress
locked in a glass box
on the edge
of the Franciscan’s meadow.

Her bare foot crushes
the snake which was
her power.

Mary, named
                    never part of it
this sinful meadow
lusty with thistles, every petal

Shrunk to a doll
wearing taffeta and lace
she stares through dirty glass
safe from dew and pollen
holding Jesus, her fruit.

O Mary, once you strode
these fields full-breasted–
you as Source, not vessel.
Now they’ve nailed you up
under glass at the edge
of this glory.

They call it a shrine,
call your murder

Our Lady of Consolation.


George Ella Lyon, Kentucky Poet Laureate (2015-2016), has published in many genres, including picture books, poetry, novels, short stories, and a memoir. Her poem “Where I’m From” has gone around the world as a writing model. Her most recent collections include She Let Herself Go(LSU, 2012) and Many-Storied House(Univ. Press of Ky, 2013). She makes her living as a freelance writer and teacher based in Lexington. For more information, visit http://www.georgeellalyon.com.