Ellen Saunders


If you're looking for truth, it lingers
in the past with little girls twirling
in princess dresses, boys in cowboy
suits riding plastic horses; honesty,
even in costume, will be recognized.
Soon we don the grown-up disguises
left to us, join the great masquerade,
dancing, falling until our facades wither,
the waltz ends, and innocence reappears
in our unmasked eyes. We retire
to the sidelines of a new season's ball,
observers now, limbs now worn, wander
to our chairs wondering how we ever
managed to dance from here to there.

© 2013 Ellen Saunders

Author Biography

Ellen Saunders, originally from Connecticut, currently lives in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Retired, Saunders previously owned and managed a sales/marketing company, and worked as a consumer product developer and copywriter. Saunders began writing poetry about twelve years ago and gratefully acknowledges the following poets who helped to shape her writing: Gerald Costanzo, Hinda Raz, Rodger Kamenetz, and Denise Duhamel. Saunders poetry has appeared in literary magazines in the US and Canada. Masquerade is her first book.

Critical Response

"'If you're looking for truth, it lingers/in the past,' writes poet Ellen Saunders in the title poem of her new chapbook. In sonnets as compelling as they are shocking she shows us both the masks of denial and the bare face of survival. Brava!"

—Hilda Raz, author of What Happens, All Odd and Splendid, and Trans

"With the subtlety of her craft, Ellen Saunders has quickly become a guardian of the American sonnet. She contemplates the sound of a buzzing fly, the scent of honeysuckle, the harvesting of beefsteak tomatoes, the perfection of the foxtrot. But to say that her focus is on the domestic is to underestimate the illumination gained from her acute inspection of daily life. Masquerade is an excellent first collection."

—Gerald Costanzo

©2013 Longleaf Press at Methodist University | Fayetteville, NC