Poetry | The Great Disappointment & Living Without Moon by Ali Lewis


    Ali Lewis

    The Great Disappointment
    after a probably imaginary painter

    ‘Leadership is disappointing your own people at a rate they can absorb.’ – Ronald Heifetz

    Since I’ve been reckoning with grief
    I’ve been looking for a painting I remember
    of a peasant, miserable on a hillside,

    seconds after his rapture hasn’t come,
    his plough already sold to a neighbour

    for a song as a show of faith and a joke
    to crack in paradise. But the closest

    I can find is a poem by Donaghy,
    a Simpsons scene, and a Puck cartoon of Millerites

    on their roofs in ascension robes just before
    the climbdown and the false dawn

    God designed to expose the doubters
    with their stores of grain, while the faithful,
    tested, thinned, get ready for the real date.


    Living Without Moon

    I looked at the moon but there was no moon
    only a telescopic circle of black

    a black circle on black inlaid with clouds
    like a wall where a picture doesn’t hang

    or a seamless mottled half or crescent
    strange as a friend without glasses

    or a no-shape no-thing: the unthinkable
    after-imagining I ask myself not to seek

    when the whens I can’t see it
    coincide with the times it’s not there.


    Ali Lewis was born in Nottingham in 1990. He won an Eric Gregory Award in 2018 and his pamphlet, Hotel, was published in 2020 by Verve. His poems have appeared in magazines including Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland Review and the New Statesman. He is associate editor of Poetry London.

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