Winter 2005 • Vol. XXVII No. 1 Poetry |

B

In the beginning was the letter B. Through B, God made the world. Today that sign gleams on a keyboard neither for cadenzas nor waterfall arpeggios, but for prayers tapped out on keys that flicker like strung beads, and brush like seashells, pearly, paper-thin, tide washes in. I dwell on weightier strokes by surer hands with trowels that dug out sound, B at the base. For the B that blooms now, curved like a bellflower in high wind, a Phoenician sailed the letter Beth to the Greeks for Beta, centuries ago. B is for B.C.E., for Nestor's cup, for the stone scratches on a burial urn, and for Babel's blankness when our languages were undone; B is for bare winters of the untaught, for slaves' songs bellowed out on a free night, and for the blessed who learned to write them down. B is for Hector's burial, and for the bending of angry Achilles, who, when he remembers his own dead father he will not see again, gives up the body, and the Trojans bur

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece



Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.
Grace Schulman’s seventh collection of poems, Without a Claim, was published in September 2013 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Mariner Booka). She is Distinguished Professor, Baruch College, CUNY.

Read More

The Worst

By Grace Schulman

In the beginning was the letter B. Through B, God made the world. Today that sign gleams on a keyboard neither for cadenzas nor waterfall arpeggios, but for prayers tapped […]

The Rooted Bed

By Grace Schulman

In the beginning was the letter B. Through B, God made the world. Today that sign gleams on a keyboard neither for cadenzas nor waterfall arpeggios, but for prayers tapped […]

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.