And malt does more than Milton can
To justify God’s ways to man.
—A. E. Housman
When I am beaten down by work and love,
And others head for local dives to drink,
I clench my soul and strive to rise above,
For stimulating words to make me think.
O show me Milton’s paradisial route,
Far airier than the foamiest of stout.
Of man’s first disobedience and the fruit
Are all I need and all I care about.
A bottled brew’s sufficient for the poor
In spirits, not for spirituality.
How can a tankard filled with beer quench more
Than slaking drafts of a theodicy?
I’d bring it to the bar, but I get looks
When I enact the fall from all twelve books.
David Galef is a shameless eclectic, with over a dozen books in two dozen directions. They include the novel How to Cope with Suburban Stress, the story collection My Date with Neanderthal Woman, a poetry collection called Flaws, the children’s picture book Tracks, and a volume of translated Japanese proverbs. His latest poetry collection, Kanji Poems, is forthcoming in 2015 from WordTech’s Word Poetry imprint. He is a professor of English and the creative writing program director at Montclair State University.