In Vocation of the Muse: Page One

In Vocation of the Muse by B. McClellan

In Vocation of the Muse

poetry by Bonnie McClellan

Illustrations by Matthew Broussard

02smoking copyright Matthew Broussard

Invocation of the Reader

This song is written for an audience of one.
for your eyes and your mouth alone;
in hope that you may catch
the cadence of my breath
in rhythm of these words,
as I felt Dante’s breath, weighted
against my lips, chanting out
a novena of tercets, beginning:

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
che la diritta via era smarrita.

The straight path also lost to me,
I follow the sound of my voice
whispered across your lips.
Trembling at the gates of hell,
inside the silent center of this caesura
we inhale.

poems © Bonnie M. McClellan
images © Matthew Broussard


ALL OTHER POEMS FROM THE SERIES “In Vocation of the Muse” have been removed from this blog. If you would like to order a bound copy of the book complete with colour illustrations at a cost of 25.00 EURO ($35 USD) + postage and handling please contact me at:

By bonniemcclellan

Mother, poet, american ex-pat from Texas living in Northern Italy.


  1. Beautifal Bonnie — your poem (like all good art) puts me in mind of another poem that I have long adored. And so I share with you here, Margaret Atwood’s poem “Variations on the Word Sleep”

    Variations on the Word Sleep

    I would like to watch you sleeping,
    which may not happen.
    I would like to watch you,
    sleeping. I would like to sleep
    with you, to enter
    your sleep as its smooth dark wave
    slides over my head.

    and walk with you through that lucent
    wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
    with its watery sun & three moons
    towards the cave where you must descend,
    towards your worst fear

    I would like to give you the silver
    branch, the small white flower, the one
    word that will protect you
    from the grief at the center
    of your dream, from the grief
    at the center. I would like to follow
    you up the long stairway
    again & become
    the boat that would row you back
    carefully, a flame
    in two cupped hands
    to where your body lies
    beside me, and you enter
    it as easily as beathing in

    I would like to be the air
    that inhabits you for a moment
    only. I would like to be that unnoticed
    & that necessary.

    Margaret Atwood


    There’s no reader
    Not more than an echo in the wind
    All voices in one shot
    Heading for the ultimate smoothness

    I get around
    Like a walk on the beach
    Just find reflects
    Of my own

    Serve and protect
    Rebellions and revolutions
    Muses love playing with fire
    Under the look of the gun

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