In addition to the long poem that is Who Are We, William Guest also writes lyric poems. Below is a brief sampling of published work.


(originally appeared in Calliope, Winter 2011/12)

Between my stirruped boots and hugging knees, I feel
the throbbing of Pampero’s heart. We know this moment.
The umpire bowls the polo ball into the fray, hot mallets raised,
horses and riders like drawn swords—the play ignites.

Pampero’s muscled smoothness soars. See.
There we are, on the sweeping field of grass—
his sculpted head, the curves of his neck and back,
his quick legs, his way of moving—
see us transforming—becoming one.
His strength, my strength; his legs, my legs; his heart, my heart.



(originally appeared in Illya’s Honey, Fall/Winter 2012)

My idea jumped into a stone!
I wanted it, because it
Could grow and become a sky.
I wanted the blueness all over
And the great feeling
Of a lazy foreverness.
I knew I could share it . . .
Children jumping into it like water
And grownups taking their ease
In swaying blue hammocks.

But there it is inside a stone:
Smooth like a seal, large
Enough not to break
And tied down tight as an anchor.

People would wander by on Sunday afternoons
And ask me, why are you beating on that stone?



(originally appeared in Blood and Thunder, Fall 2013)

can be a nymph gone evil,
flitting the way Northern Lights skim
the sky, here, there, everywhere, nowhere,
all happening, or not, at once,
quick flashes, webs jumping, berserk,
down to the toes, the heels.

Pain can shout as loud as sunrise, sunset,
a lone star shooting a shaft, a piercing arrow.

Which is what the mystery is. Somewhere there.
It’s knowing that it might be or might not be.

Catch it in a test tube, under medical light,
so we know, we finally know, this is pain.
Its texture, color, structure (a quintuplet helix)
grinning innocently at us. Mischief is its game.

Mighty minds of man, chin-stroking, discuss
how pain is this and that, here and there.
We know with certainty at least this much:
that it flits somewhere in bones and flesh.

Pity its victim, the body in its cradle of nails.
Ponder how it’s meant to be only bountiful
in ways of the body telling us something
we need to know, itself a good thing.

But instead, oh yes instead, Dr. Jekyll
Can become Mr. Hyde.



(originally appeared in Blood and Thunder, Fall 2013)

Your sack of flesh is draped
over your fragile pillars of bones
where Samson is needed
to hold them up.

How happy-sad I am to see your face.
Though phantoms have chased your mind away,
your face still says I am.

Where are you, I ask, if you are there?
Our eyes meet, like all those years and years
when we stretched our eyes to meet across the
land of father-son.

You stare at me from two glistening pools,
trying to recall whether you know me;
and I return the favor.

My eyes are like search-lights,
which I have turned upon so much of life
I cannot possibly comprehend,
and now I look at you.

You cannot even call my name
but I feel that something without words
is in your mindless mind.