Three Poems

by Steve Brittain Issue: Spring/Summer 2019


Dung beetle and bear
incinerated alike
as one hundred foot Ponderosa pines
explode into torches.
With the voice of one
thousand enraged elephants
the fire draws
a vortex
into itself:
an ouroboros consuming




Some of the big ones
were rising from the New England soil
when Columbus ravaged Hispaniola.

The really old ones
were sprouting
as Leif Ericson
sailed out of the Newfoundland fog
to see waves
breaking on the rocks
at L'Anse aux Meadows.

But only the most ancient
drank in the sunlight
as Brendan's coracle
floated from the myth that was Ireland
to face aboriginal America.



The Dance

An amoeba splits
itself and becomes
its own generations.
Contracted chromosomes
dance round the spindle-pole,
the metaphase contra,
spin and bow
down and back
then it’s off to another partner and,

after the dance it's
all nipples and skin:
close at the ear,
even toes taught
in a spasm of pleasure.
Reaching out ninety three million miles,
the sun's tongue
our fertile earth.



Steve Brittain

Stephen Brittain is a recently retired neurologist and has lived in semi-rural Vermont for the last 35 years. Although the person to person, direct encounters of his work in the clinic and his local hospital influence his poems, the years spent exploring the Green Mountains, valleys and forests of Vermont has an even stronger impact on his writing. One other essential aspect of his life and writing is a longstanding Zen practice.