Ellen Wise



Today’s the day
the demi-gods decide
who will live and
who will die.

Like the rest of us only-
humans, they shuffle
grin and lie. Afraid
to seem afraid.

The clowns are tired;
they’re dying.
The guns don't fire flowers;
the tigers bite the whip.

And ravaged animals
creep, bleeding,
from the once-green world.



Ellen Wise was born in Circleville, Ohio and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia. She holds degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University and Washington College. Five of her poems have been set to music by American classical composer Adolphus Hailstork. The collaborative work, named for her title poem, "Ventriloquist Acts of God," was performed in Norfolk, Virginia, in 2004, and in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 2006. She lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.


Published in Volume 7, Number 2, Spring 2006.