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Alberta Clipper 10/28/14: “Beauty and the Beast” by Neil Weiss

During the last week of October in 1946, Nebraskans were enjoying the season’s typical weather with temperatures in the mid 50s, only slightly above the average 48°. Meanwhile across the globe, Jean Cocteau’s famous La Belle et la Bête was released. The film, starring Jean Marais and Josette Day, brought to life the popular Beauty and the Beast fairy tale and enchanted audiences with its stunning cinematography.

In a similar fashion, Neil Weiss’s poem “Beauty and the Beast,” published in Prairie Schooner in the fall of 1962, depicted the fairy tale’s last scene. —Emily Burns

Neil Weiss
Beauty and the Beast

She is running to meet me
and I am dying here
by this wretched canal.
It’s the story of my life.

Dear Beast, she cries, don’t die!—
and I smile to myself, all that love
suddenly centered on me,
and I know I will not die.

How will I use it? I will
be beautiful again,
all the rust scraped from my soul,
my face a clear reflection…

But she is running harder,
in a state of terror, afraid
she’s too late with the knowledge
that it is me, me, me

she loves in an overflow
from her heart. I know that overflow,
fully understand it and approve
(damn my consciousness!), and now

I feel my face start to change
as I rise from the ground,
thoughtful, responsible, my mind
heavy with the coming life.

Prairie Schooner, Vol. 36, No. 3 (Fall 1962)


The Alberta Clipper is a biweekly gust of history—brushing the dust off of a poem from our archives and situating it in the current events and local Nebraskan weather reports of days gone by. Explore the Alberta Clipper archives here.

 

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