Maureen McLane (Photo by Joanna Eldredge Morrissey)




Adventure in the Clover or Today’s Destruction, Averted


Adventure in the clover

cleaving the hours

& the bees on a lawn

thus far immune

to a fungus elsewhere

killing them.

Why write music

anymore why

have a family

the composer

unmade the world

in advance

of its predicted end.

We cannot bear

his suspension

which only the careless

robins resolve and a low

drone of bees

whose venturing patterns

the lawn into

a sociable hum.

Tomorrow’s disaster

is always here.

You refuse

to see it stop

it.  J’accuse.


there were these

bees’ dumb glory

a cunning weave

and clover’d

dance to a hive

that persists


by bears in a neighbor’s

unseen field.




About Maureen N. McLane

Maureen N. McLane is the author of World Enough: poems (FSG, 2010) and Same Life: poems (FSG, 2008), and two books on British romantic poetry and culture, Balladeering, Minstrelsy, and the Making of British Romantic Poetry (2008) and Romanticism and the Human Sciences (2000), both from Cambridge University Press. An Associate Professor of English at NYU, she has published essays on poetry, fiction, teaching, and sexuality in The New York TimesBoston ReviewChicago TribuneThe Washington Post, and many other venues. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle’s Nona Balakian Award for Excellence in Book Reviewing, she is currently a contributing editor at Boston Review. She has been a MacDowell Fellow in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Her book, My Poets, is forthcoming from FSG in 2012. You can read Robyn Creswell’s interview with Maureen McLane at The Paris Review website.

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“Adventure in the Clover or Today’s Destruction, Averted” © Maureen McLane. Printed with permission by the author. This poem was originally published on Gwarlingo on August 21, 2011.