Lewis Bosworth

2829 Barlow Street, Madison
WI  53705-3621
Email: lewisabosworth@gmail.com

I was born in Detroit and grew up in southern Illinois.  I have a BA in French from UW-Madison and an MA in Romance linguistics from the University of Michigan.   I‘ve been writing poetry since high school, in fits and starts; my most fertile periods were in the 60s, 70s and 80s – and more recently.  I write poetry to give a perspective on the world from my viewpoint – more eloquent and circumscribed than I could in prose.  As a linguist by training I thrive on language – from bits like sounds to syllables to words to sentences and more complex structures.  This is the joy I wish to share; no rhyme or reason!  I write in English most of the time, but also in French and Portuguese.  I have workshoped with Marilyn Taylor and have attended poetry forums at the Academy of American Poets and the Dodge Poetry Festival.  For the last 4-5 years I’ve been teaching creative writing-poetry in the Participatory Learning and Teaching Organization in Madison. I have contributed to online sources “Hello Poetry,” “Poem Hunter,” and “Mad Poetry,” and I have had a few poems published by WFOP editors and Forward Theater.  Years ago I had a few poems published in the journal Gerbil.    

Recordações:Remembrances [2012]
Carnet de Croquis: Sketchbook [2012]
Something Borrowed, Something Blue [2013]
Trying Hard to Hear You [2014].  


Faces at the Bottom of the Well

As I peered down at the murky
Distance beneath, a stalactite
Scratched my shoulder.

She looked to belong there,
Translucent in her birth suit,
A callous icepick in drag.

I gagged on the still water’s
Stench, hoping for a mirror
To spy on the carp below.    

Strange sounds came from the
Depths filling me with fright,
A white sheet covered my head.

My memories of life before
The well emphasized
My pledged share of crops.

Looking down at turmoil,
A witches brew, a caucus of
Black children as phantoms.

What does the mob spawn?
Down there in the shadows?
Can they sell me again?

My story is growing faint,
It gnaws like a cancer
In line to pay the poll tax.

The terror of being thinned
Out is one way to judge
The faces of injustice.

A leprosy of the soul plagues
Me, this scurrilous writ of right
To cultivate cotton and tobacco


Two small visages glare up,
The girl has dry hair,  
The boy wears suspenders.

Terrible myths surround
The tales of cherubim
Cursing the walls of mold.

I look down again at
The single bucket, its clamor
Pealing against the bricks.

There is a dizziness about
Staring into an infinite liquid, 
Call it vertiginous space.

Consider the opposite,
Gazing up at me, seeing
And feeling raindrops.

Inside this well lurk a
Paradox and an illusion,
Duplicitous evils.

Seeing the faces at the
Bottom is an illusion,
That they exist is paradoxical.

Black isn’t black, but white
Isn’t white, another paradox,
Test them for translucence.

In this day we are challenged
To be just, to hold high
Our heads, never to abort.

The penultimate favor
Is of forgetfulness, of
Ignorance, of mercy.

The only face left is
That of the white sheet
Covered in dust and sweat.



the day is short
    and long
when the sun
    seems to
stand still

blink and you’ll
    notice a sky
painted in rose
    mocha and

the life of a
    honey bee is
lengthened by

stand aside and
    smile while
a virgin buzz
    attracts you
to life

beyond the pale
of belief lies
    the outside

what is short
    in the sky
becomes length
    in life
and love