The Complete Poems of Elizabeth Peele

Vols. 1-12


Carmen Angelina Coletti was perhaps the greatest composer who ever lived. After her death, studies of her music revealed a body of work--almost exclusively instrumental--of such beauty and power as to defy description. Even so, her lifelong reclusiveness rendered them obsolete to the world, and these musical treasures may remain apart from public view forever.

Even those few who heard her original scores did so in quiet apprehension, that this beautiful widow--lost somewhere deep in North Carolina farming country--brought forth music as completely ingenious as any ever written before. The sounds of greatness flowing from this woman's piano, surely this is not meant to be! For what purpose can she truly serve as a neoclassical composer in a jaded modern world, except as a curiosity and eventually, a fountain of eternal exploitation?

But while music did serve as a profession for her since she was twelve--her only wage being a sound mind and spirit--there was still another expression, both private and unintentional, equally meant for her eyes only. Gathered posthumously, so few of these "assemblies" can be called unique or special, and likely cannot set her apart from any other lonely poet in the world. But still they live on, as a glimpse into the mind of a musical genius and abused woman of Faith. Written parallel to her music over the years--with no striving for greatness or immortality--these poetic trifles, ironically, may be the only compositions of hers the world will ever hear.

ELIZABETHAN  Vol. 11 (The Book of Emily)  No. 1572

Flair will gouge my esteem with colored light.
While I wait for Emily to come home,
the evil of the Thriller beckons.
Michael Jackson’s trial is a benchmark.
His very existence is a sign of the times.

After the war, a young man whose father is in the military has grown tired of bullying.
One day, he calls the three boys over to where he stands.
He slams one of the boys in the face with an empty paint can.
The boy’s face needs stitches. It is a sign of the times.

A sixteen year old girl puts her diaphragm in, and has sex with her boyfriend.
The diaphragm was a gift from her mother on her sixteenth birthday--
it is a sign of the times. They are benchmarks, great and small,
along the road to our future.

Long after moonlight has faded, and night has turned to day.
Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, these are signs of the times.
The rise of comedy--the fall of tragedy.
The loss of love and respect for our fellow man.

The rule of Oprah Winfrey, the glory of money and fame.
Signs of the times these all are, both one and the same.
Spielberg’s symphonies of light and sound--orchestras played from the Western Gate.
The explosion of Mount St. Helens, the fall of the Berlin Wall of hate--

these are signs of the times.

The Declaration of Independence. The Chorus of the Slaves,
the bloody Civil War itself--the killing of the Man of Lean.
When segregation was abolished through the killing of their King--
these are signs of the times we are in.

The roaring seas, the ocean waves--the great ships sailing to and fro--
the explosion of knowledge in the last 100 years. Our journeys into space.
The neverending tide of war and peace, the union of the European nations.
As the pirate ship rises from the east--burning blue and black fire,

these are signs of the times.

The Tri State Tornado of 1925, the 8,000 dead at Galveston Isle.
The National Football League--the writer of The Green Mile--
these are all signs that the end of the age is near.

The train of pearls on a string that slammed into the Jovian Sea--
the flight of Desperate Housewives from sea to shining sea.
Madame Rowling’s wizard--the four children of Madame V.C.
These are all signs of the coming eschatology.

Jack and Rexella Van Impe. The life and death of Billy Graham.
The indiscretion of Jimmy Swaggart, and President Clinton, I see.
When the arrows are flung from the desert east, and the towers implode poetically.
Theoretically, I see signs of the coming eschatology.

Rod Serling and his Twilight Zone--Theodore Geisel and his rhyme.
The posthumous life of Emily Dickinson. Longfellow’s prose in time.
They are from the end of the age.
These are signs of the times.

Tonight, when Emily gets home, over an hour late from her curfew,
I’m going to fold one of her father’s belts in front of her, as if it were going to happen.
I fold her father’s belt, to see the sign of fear.
She tells me she is sorry. She is my daughter again.

My Emily’s grave, I tend.


                                                                   Elizabethan Vol. 11: The Book of Emily
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