At the Bijou by Richard Outram

Encore Literary Magazine is extremely proud to have permission from the executors of the estate of the late Richard Outram to present work by one of Canada’s great poets. In the months to come, poems by Outram will be periodically featured here, thus helping to keep alive the singular voice of, in the words of Alberto Manguel, “one of the finest poets in the English language.”

At the Bijou

Let the laconic Hero come,
With thirteen shots from his six-gun,
To keep the Maiden from a shame
Far worse than death:
                                                 within this frame
Ephebe, enthralled, sees Pluto save
Persephone in Plato’s cave.

Grotesque figures, vast on the wall,
Are coupling, keeping in common thrall
Sensual creatures watching there,
Coupled in turn: through the darkling air
Behind them, the burdened dove has swerved
Before the bonfire unobserved:
Dropping a broken sprig of light
On her strewn ledge, she takes to flight:
Her kindled shadow is seared upon
The wall both vivid instants, gone
Unseen: she diminishes into the sun,
One nest replenished, one just begun.