Circe’s Song

My beauty is an island of its own
where everyone dances to my tune,
where men are turned to beasts of burden all day long,
to lambs and sheep as gentle as the dawn
(and bald as coots, crazier than loons),
to blinded bats, to bulls and oxen dumb and strong.

No cunning foxes or wise old owls here,
but eager beavers, busy as bees,
and skunks that lie down drunk at my feet,
and hungry horses, as hungry as bears,
and randy goats, and, oh yes, the eels,
the eels, slippery, sliding, firm, and as smooth
as grease, finding always just the right groove,
and hogs that root in the mud and squeal,
groveling until day, as dead as a dodo, is done,
leaving only wolves and mongrels to howl at the moon,
and me, happy as a lark, free as a bird, and alone,
because beauty, after all, is an island of its own.

[J. Weintraub has published fiction, essays, translations, and poetry in all sorts of literary reviews and periodicals, from The Massachusetts Review to New Criterion, from Prairie Schooner to the Modern Philology. A member of the Dramatists Guild, he has had short plays produced throughout the United States and in Australia, New Zealand, India, and Germany. As a translator he has introduced the Italian horror writer, Nicola Lombardi, to the English-speaking world, and his edition of Lombardi’s The Gypsy Spiders and Other Tales of Italian Horror was published by the UK’s Tartarus Press in 2021. His two-act adaptation of Carlo Goldoni’s canonical Villeggiatura trilogy, The Summer Season, also recently appeared in The Mercurian: A Theatrical Translation Review, and in 2018, his annotated translation of Eugène Briffault’s Paris à table: 1846 was published by Oxford UP. More at]