Conundrum Press

Beauty at Night

September 1st, 2013  |  Published in Conundrum Classics, David J. Rothman, Poetry

Imagine a world where pharaohs have wheelbarrows, bicycles are made of ice, tigers live in apartment buildings, trees speak, kites think, and cats fly. This is the world ofBeauty at Night, where even adults can secretly enjoy vivid colors, beautiful drawings, playful verse, and a certain magic.

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Anyone who has ever wondered where the wind comes from, or what old rose bushes say, or in what way a poem resembles an answering machine, will find the answers in this book. You will also see how the elephants looked when they were dancing with their umbrellas, what happened when the snails chased the horses, and where the Chinese hat landed when it blew away.

Finally, if you are old enough to know that not all children’s books are only for children, read the Afterword by David J. Rothman to yourself – and love your family that much more.

I scrub my back in a room fifty feet off the ground
As a flock of sparrows whirls around my head, chirping in delight!
It is a bathtub in an apartment with an open window.

My friend whispers to me from Utah,
Telling me about blue sky, white clouds, red rocks, green pines!
It is a telephone.

I zoom across the city in a chair,
The slightest motion of my hands and feet
Deciding my fate, my hours, my journey!
It is a car.

Invisible men and women sing
From the past, from other places, all in a tiny box!
It is a radio

This comes quietly into your mind.
It is poetry.

Standing, spinning,
Upward looking,
I saw dropping
Drops of light.

Sitting, sprawling,
Downward falling,
I lay on the grass
And watched the night.

Stunned Finch
The finch was fine. I had been holding it,
Then it was flying back and forth in the rafters
Of the barn, then out the door. I didn’t see
It stun itself on a beam or wall, then fall.
I found it after that, mysterious,
A sleeping yellow thumb with folded wings,
Eyes closed, heart quick, small feathers on small chest
Senselessly ruffling in the breezes crossing
The hay-covered floor.

It woke up with a start
Upon my clumsy palm, blinked twice, and then
Decided to go, first up into the rafters,
Then out the door and up into the sky.

All proceeds from the sale of this book go to the Michael H. Rothman Endowment for Music and the Arts.

“When the poems are combined with perfect companion drawings and a splash of vibrant color, you get a certain magic that playfully merges poetry and art into a most unusual book.”—Mike Nobles, Tulsa World

“A lovely collection of poetry, Rothman’s book reads easily to children or can be enjoyed by adults. The poems are innocent in their simplicity and purity, but the truths they speak of are universal. Observant without being silly, David Rothman takes old ideas and makes them fresh.”—Merrie W. Valliant, Colorado Libraries

About the author 
David J. Rothman’s poetry, essays, and scholarship have appeared widely. He lives in San Juan Capistrano, California with his wife, Emily, and his sons, Jacob and Noah.

About the painters
Michael H. Rothman (1961-1998) was an artist and musician who graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute. Cynthia Min (1965-1990) was an artist and designer who graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute.

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