Click to see the following: (1) my web page, (2) my publication list in Judaic studies and literature, (3) my publication list in mathematics.




Beer Poems from the Fall of 2002


Richard S. Ellis


In the fall of 2002 I wrote five additional beer poems, four of which refer to our favorite brew, Otter Creek Copper Ale.  The first of the five poems is a ditty entitled “Friday Is Here”; the second was inspired by William Blake’s poem “Auguries of Innocence”; the third was inspired by Dylan Thomas’s poem “The force that through the green fuse drives the flower”; the fourth, entitled “My Sleek New Technique,” is the ultimate Otter Creek poem in which every line ends with a word rhyming with “creek”; the fifth and best poem, entitled “Moebius Strip,” explores the relationships between a man, his son, and his dead father.





Friday Is Here


Friday is here,

And that means beer.

Where shall we congregate

Before we celebrate?

My office at four-and-a-half.

Join the fun-loving, beer-guzzling applied math staff.


Today’s agenda.

1) Attack on Iraq.

2) How to make George W. blue.

3) With politics so bleak, quaff another Otter Creek.





William Blake and Otter Creek Copper Ale


This week’s beer poem is inspired by William Blake, the English poet, painter, engraver, and mystic, as he drinks a glass of Otter Creek Copper Ale at his local pub.  While he stares at the glass, the opening stanza of his poem, “Auguries of Innocence,” coalesces in his mind.  Here is the opening stanza.


To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.


Contemplating how one can hold infinity in the palm of one’s hand while sipping Otter Creek inspired me to write the following verse.


More molecules of Otter Creek effervesce

in a glass of that potion

than the number of seconds that have passed

since God set the world in motion.


The next time you hold a glass

of the Otter Creek brew,

contemplate the infinity

about to pass through you.


If not for your sake,

then for William Blake,

            who loved Otter Crake.





Dylan Thomas and Otter Creek Copper Ale


Of all the poets who loved Otter Creek, the great Welshman, Dylan Thomas, loved it the most, dying of alcoholism before the age of 40.  His collected poems fill a mere 200 pages.  On one of his rare sober days, Dylan Thomas penned these amazing lines.


The force that through the green fuse drives the flower

Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees

Is my destoyer.

And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose

My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.


I dedicate this week’s verse to him.


                    Otter Creek Inspires


Your bard would like to rest this week

until another Otter Creek

            infuses him with words that rhyme

incandescently.  With time


            the force igniting Dylan’s flower

will light his own.  But ere the power

of a thousand suns can burst,

first your bard must slake his thirst.


            That Otter Creek inspires is clear.

            Shakespeare also liked that beer.





       My Sleek New Technique


Ye seekers of truth through Otter Creek,

Please forgive me for failing last week

To write a beer poem deep and unique,

Thus breaking my poetic three-week streak.


My excuse, alas, is freakishly weak:

I couldn’t find rhymes for “Otter Creek.”

Now armed with “geek,” “boutique,” “Mozambique,”

I can unmeekly reveal my sleek new technique.


This week, when the applied math clique

Meets again to drink Otter Creek,

First George, the limerick sheik, will speak:

   “This poem has obliquely reached the peak.”

Then Panos, the popcorn sheik, will speak:

   “I’ll translate it forthwith into Greek.”

Then Bruce, the Canadian chief-sheik, will speak:

    “Compared to this, only a puck is more chic.”

Finally Luc, avoiding critique, will speak:

   “Ce poème comique

     est une création trés magique.”


Next week we geeks meet on Mozambique

On the eastern beach at the Otter Creek boutique.





                    Moebius Strip


Walking through Forest Park

  on a golden October morning

    with my son, grown up,

I seek a symbol for my life:

  the falling leaves,

    the waterfall,

      the lonely gull

    gliding over the lower pond,

  into which the upper pond cascades

down a rocky channel

  carrying a beer can

    that flips end over end over end

  and lands at a spot

before our feet.


The covered wooden bridge in the background,

  the phosphorescence of the leaves

    reflected in the water,

  I construct the perfect scene.

My son, eight years old, and I

  standing by this very water,

    throwing a ball back and forth.

Did I spend such a morning

  when I was eight years old?

    My father is dead.


My son picks up the can,

  shakes it dry,

    examines its perfect shape

      in the morning sun,

    rolls it between his fingers,

  and tosses it to me.

“Hey, Dad.  Catch.”