Six of My Poems Published in The Lyric Magazine

I haven’t updated this site in a while, but I thought I’d let you know that my poetry has been published in the last three issues of The Lyric (summer 2020, fall 2020 & spring 2021), a 100-year-old poetry journal out of Vermont. Sadly, the poems are only available in the hard copy magazine, not online. This is a link to their main website if you’d like to order a copy.

In the meantime, I’m going to reprint the six poems over the next three posts, beginning with my pieces from the summer 2020 issue. The poems from that issue are “Night Chorus” and “Father Fears.”


By Rob Crisell

Inside the fountain’s hedge, a thousand frogs

Flood midnight in infinite iambic song.

The heavy storms sowed them like dragon’s teeth. 

And now, slime-green soldiers leap from the soil

To flabbergast their enemies and lovers,

With juddering harmonies, resounding

Belches that rattle bedroom windowpanes, 

And chirps high-pitched enough to make dogs wince.

An apparition sweeps across the moon,

Alighting on the fountain, its wings spread wide.

All sounds cease as summoned silence, quickening

And rising out of the writhing earth, unwinds 

Its velvet limbs and mossy trunk, bestriding

House and garden, humankind and universe—

A god of night, a dream colossus, watchman.

A bullfrog’s bass note interrupts the spell. 

The spirit’s gone. The Earth erupts again.


By Rob Crisell

He takes up arms against his father’s reign;

Rejects the olive branch and seeks out wars. 

With marksman’s eye he conquers new terrain;

The friends he once held dear he now abhors. 

I give offense because I represent 

The foe he dreads he may or may not be.

Behind his walls he hurls his discontent.

He will define himself away from me.

But all my ships are burned—the siege goes on.

I scan the barricades for gaps or flaws;

Above the parapets I look for dawn;

I search for firelight through portcullis jaws. 

My father, too, laid siege on me for years.

His triumph soothes his grown son’s father fears. 

Author: admin

Rob Crisell is an author, actor, teacher, and Shakespearean in Temecula, CA. He teaches poetry and Shakespeare with the Murrieta Valley Union School District as part of its Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) program. He is a Shakespeare lecturer with Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. He has acted in The Merchant of Venice, Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), Baskerville, Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, The Tempest (Prospero), Macbeth, Othello (Iago), and others. Over the quarantine, he has acted in Much Ado About Nothing and Merry Wives of Windsor (with Nathan Agin’s “A Working Actor’s Journey production) and King Lear (Quarantine Players). He has written and performed several one-man plays featuring Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Shakespeare in America. He’s the author of Shakespeare’s Book of Wisdom: Advice on Living a Wiser, Happier Life from William Shakespeare & Friends (DePortola Press 2018). His 2016 TED Talk is “How NOT to Hate Shakespeare.” His verse adaptation of Sophocles’ Electra will be produced by Full Circle Players in Riverside, California in October 2020. He is a graduate of Yale University and George Mason University Law School. For details, visit or www.facebook/robcrisellactor/.