The Sunday Poem: Maureen McLane


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.

Click here to explore the entire Sunday Poem series, which includes work by Meghan O’Rourke, Eduardo Corral, Andrea Cohen, D. Nurkse, and Anzhelina Polonskaya. You can also add a comment or share this poem on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

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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.


By | 2016-11-11T21:52:49+00:00 05.01.12|The Sunday Poem, Words|1 Comment

About the Author:

I’ve spent almost 20 years helping thousands of successful artists of all disciplines and working to make the arts more accessible. (One friend likes to call me “the arts enabler.”) From 1999-2012 I worked at The MacDowell Colony, the nation’s oldest artist colony, but I've also done time at an arts magazine, a library, an art museum, and a raptor rehabilitation center. In May of 2012 I left MacDowell to pursue writing, speaking, curating, and creative projects full-time. In 2015 I was named a “Top 100 Artist, Innovator, Creative” by Origin magazine. I've appeared as an arts and culture commentator on New Hampshire Public Radio, and in 2017 I was the recipient of the Wampler Art Professorship at James Madison University. I am the founder of the Gwarlingo Salon series, which connects artists like DJ Spooky with rural audiences in the Monadnock region. In 2017 my collaborator Corwin Levi and I will publish our first book, Mirror Mirrored, which combines Grimms’ fairy tales with vintage illustration remixes and the work of contemporary artists like Kiki Smith, Carrie Mae Weems, and Amy Cutler. I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, but have called New Hampshire home since 1999. My studio is located in the historic, mill village of Harrisville. I miss fried okra, the early southern spring, and restaurants that stay open past 9:00 p.m., but rural life agrees with me. In New Hampshire I can see the stars, go kayaking or snowshoeing, watch bald eagles fish in the lake, and focus on my creative work in silence. I no longer have to worry about traffic jams; deer, wild turkeys, and frost heaves are the primary road hazards here. Although I live in the country, I’m fortunate enough to be part of a vibrant arts community that extends beyond this small New England village. The quiet days are punctuated by regular travel and frequent visits to museums, theaters, readings, arts events, lectures, and open studios around the country. (You can read my full CV here.) Thanks for visiting Gwarlingo. I hope you'll be in touch.

One Comment

  1. Jeffrey Gross June 10, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Wow, I like that. She has a light touch, yet manages to conjure up a sense of surrounding disaster.

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