Under the Dome

By Elise Paschen Elise Paschen
At times they will fly under. The dome
contains jungles. Invent a sky under the dome.

Creatures awake, asleep, at play, aglow:
they float – unbottled genii – under the dome.

Southern Belle, a splash of black, dusted with gold,
dissembles, assembling, acts shy under the dome.

Cattleheart, Giant Swallowtail, Clipper:
sail, navigate sky high under the dome.

Like confetti – a wedding – bits of Rice
Paper: sheer mimicry under the dome.

Magnificent Owl, in air, a pansy,
it feeds, wings up, eye to eye, under the dome.
Name them: Monarch, then Queen, last Viceroy.
What will scientists deify under the dome?
Basking against a leaf: a Banded Orange,
displayed like a bowtie under the dome.

A living museum. Exist to be observed:
never migrate, but live, then die, under the dome.

Lips, lashes, eyes. From outside in,
do beings magnify under the dome?

Lepidoptera. From the Greek: Scale-wing.
Chrysalis. Stay, butterfly, under the dome.

Elise Paschen, “Under the Dome” from Bestiary. Copyright © 2009 by Elise Paschen. Reprinted with permission by Red Hen Press.

Source: Bestiary (Red Hen Press, 2009)

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Poet Elise Paschen

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Nature, Animals

Poetic Terms Refrain, Ghazal

 Elise  Paschen


Poet and editor Elise Paschen was born and raised in Chicago. She earned a BA at Harvard University, where she won the Lloyd McKim Garrison Medal and the Joan Grey Untermeyer Poetry Prize, and went on to receive a PhD in 20th century British and American Literature at Oxford University with a dissertation on the manuscripts of poet William Butler Yeats. During her time at Oxford she also co-founded Oxford Poetry.

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Poems by Elise Paschen

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Animals

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Refrain, Ghazal

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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