Guest Editor - Dan Masterson


Introduction by Jim Bennett

Hello.  Welcome to CITN 31. This edition has been held up due to technical difficulties but now all is working properly again and we are very pleased to be able to highlight the work of Paul Petrie.   We offer unreserved apologies to our readers for the delay and especially to our editor Dan Masterson and the Featured poet, Paul Petrie who have both waited with great patience.  Thank you.

Our guest editor is once again the distinguished poet and teacher Dan Masterson.  In addition to his academic work Dan runs a professional critiquing service which many poets both new and established have benefited from over the years.  I have no reservations in recommending it.  Details can be found at his website  -

You can join the CITN  at -
http://www.poetrykit.org/pkl/index.htm and following the links for Caught in the Net.


So many waving hands before the last,
when from the deck, leaning, you watch the dark
pull down those desperate, white, surrendering flags,
and turn to claim the land of never-leaving.
Practice must have some efficient end.
We grow so skillful in the arduous rites.

From – "The Academy of Goodbye"




The Dream
A Sunny Day in Settignano
Lament for the March King
The Old Pro's Lament
The Academy of Goodbye
For Nan
The Outsider
To Edwin Muir
Frankenstein's Monster to His Maker
The Pause
The Enigma Variations
Song of Judas in Heaven
The Cancer Patient to Her Dead Husband
Always the Hilltops Take Me
On Hearing Mozart's G Minor Quintet at 17
Good Day
The Old Poet Looks at the Night Sky
Not Seeing Is Believing
Fantasia on the Deaths of Mallory and Irvine
New Poems
Near Countisbury
The Lost Child
Morning Swim
The Indoor Cat
The Green Goddess

4 - Afterword

You can purchase these books on-line through Amazon at Poetry Kit's Bookshop -



In a poem entitled "Alzheimer's," Paul Petrie grabs the reader by the throat with this opening stanza: "Under her face/some stranger has set up house,/and locked the doors." The chill we try in vain to rub away clings as we read on, hoping for miracles, and are given only a brief respite: a lovely grace note, a modicum of solace: "Only at night can I stand/looking down at that face/returned to itself by sleep,/and caress, again and again,/not touching the skin,/the hollows under the eyes,/the curve of the cheek,/the white pinched forehead." And then the speaker's stark resolution as he whispers under his breath: "dreams, prayers, childish longings–/that will not be met." 
It is such writing that defines the best poetry. Words, in the hands of Paul Petrie, burst into images that quietly carry us into events that make a difference in the way we look at the world. In the preface to his New & Selected Poems, he shares the distinct purpose he has when putting pen to paper: "Whether this is so or not, these are the best fruits of a long lifetime of poetic labor, and I hope that reading them will give you that sense of heightened life and joy which is the natural function and blessing of art." 
For those of us who read these pages as further delights served up by the poet, there is satisfaction and gratitude. For those coming upon his work for the first time, there will be something akin to epiphany, something of an advancement to one's sense of appreciation and awe.

  -Dan Masterson




I dreamed you were my child, and I had come
to tell you you must die. Your back was bowed,
and brittle as the wings of a dead moth
which let the light shine through. Through the late window
we watched the sun spreading in meres of haze
over the crisp September fields that crumbled,
dissolving in our glances, into gold,
and then the dark words came, and with them, tears
rolling down my cheeks, and you were the one
to comfort me–your arm about my shoulders–
and childhood's fears were all charmed away–
 the kitchen floor quaking beneath black boots,
the leather strap descending (that hurt you more
than me), the tears I hid to make you sad–
 and hunched together there we watched the shadows
 come flocking from beneath the eaves–great bats
whose interwoven dartings blocked the sun,
 and brought night down.

                                  Let dreams invade the night
that holds you now, Father–dark voices tell you
how after many nightmares we are friends.



Rows of purple iris flank the walls.
Green lizards bask
on their veined tops.
The sun is a huge masseur
with golden hands.

Stretched out
on the warm faces of stones,
we are lobbing pebbles
into the shadowed niches
of walls.

Ants run over our legs
in caravans–
Bells encumber the air
with pregnant stroke–
And eleven stones in a row
go in.

From the far side of the wall there comes
a faint rustling–
hens perhaps,
combing the long, deep grass,
or a shaggy man,
feeling in the tangled shadows
for a dropped flute.





Weep for Philip Sousa–He is dead!
"Come quietly, John," they said,
tapping that quick-step man with his own baton,
who with a whomp of the drum dropped feet-first down
where in buttons, and braid, and honor he leads the band,
one of that underground
whose flutes are rusty with dirt,
whose piccolos wheeze,
whose horns and bassoons are pitched an octave low,
marching in double columns under the earth
while along the sides in rows
the ants all wiggle their ends,
crickets, beetles, moles
whistle the Stars and Stripes
Forever, and clapping their soundless palms
ghosts stand up and cheer.


I am out of step with my times–old-fashioned
and a patriot,
who from the Alaskan hills waged the Korean War,
scanning The Nome Gazette for Intelligence,
and before, after and since,
an optimist
fought at the hot gates,
in the salt marshes,
the Wasteland, Spengler and Doom,
while over a sinking heart and a sinking head
the headlines grow,
and who could do battle almost
for Goodness, Beauty, Truth,
if only the drums and cymbals
would thunder loudly enough,
the fifes tootle and swirl,
marching boldly, single file, down my enemies' throats
(where in the dark they lie weeping)
and tickle their ribs
with trombones.


The lions have shabbier coats
each year. More and more
they resemble Bert Lahr.
With ads and coloring books
the clowns peddle their jokes,
and over impregnable nets
queens of the high wires
         and fall–
lewd clusters of balloons.

But surely the band is of all
most beat–
the braid stripped from their coats,
striped trousers patched,
neither shoulders, hands nor feet
as they play,
with incredible lack of zeal,
the sharps, flats, and rests
of the wrong notes.

Do you love a parade, dear John?
To get a parade these days
you must murder the President,
then sit for hours in black
while over confetti screens the caissons go–
Adagio, Lento, Grave.

Corelli, Torelli, Vivaldi
at double p,
they sip their whiskey sours,
staring with gloom-lit voices
over the lawns
where power-mowers whine,
dark shadows grow–
                       and Dread.


Marching can be absurd.
Imagine us all stripped down–
tools of the men
thwacking their thighs in rhyme with a Scotch burr,
breasts of the women bobbing,
inflatable globes–

To procreate their kind
only birds must sing
but we–
who perch on the world's end
as on the end of an egg
and stare at the yellow stain
of misery–
what do we have to do
with trumpets,
and joy?


The trees are still marching, dear John,
over the hills–
and over the sun-wet fields
ranks of the wind,
and in the sky, bright-armed,
the gold-capped leader goes,
and through the rooms go I,
my children ranged behind,
mocking with clock-work limbs
and rhetorical features me–
"To the right flank, March! To the rear!"–
over tables, sofas, chairs
and upright over the walls,
our ribs resounding joy,
our feet pounding in rhyme,
while down our sweat-flushed faces
run tears–

for all of those measureless things gone down
that are marching still.


                                                                For Sigmund Freud

"He told me afterward that his loss had affected him in a different
way from any of the others he had suffered. They had brought
about sheer pain, but this one had killed something in him for
good. ... he said that Heinerle had stood to him for all children
and grandchildren."
                                          Jones, The Life of Sigmund Freud
After the death of children, something died;
and for the first time, and the last, came tears.

Feeling down dark tunnels on hands and knees
and turning the last bend, his heart drained
of blood, he had stared at that cavity
from which all legend comes, and all nightmare,
and had not turned his head.

                                        And afterwards,
as cancer ate his lower face away
in thirty-three slow mouthfuls, and the dark
thoughts of the head descended into the mouth
as smell and taste, he had not breathed a word,
or cried out.

                 But in the child's body
there must have been much hidden–many loves
and small, lost things–to make that man of truth
not only turn his head away, but water,
like some blind king, the dark roots of the world.




Each year the court expands,
the net moves back, the ball
hums by–with more spin.

I use my second serve,
lob deeper, slice more,
stay away from the net, and fail
to win.

As any fool can tell
it is time
to play the game purely
for the game's sake–to applaud
the puff of white chalk,
shake hands
and grin.

Others retire
into the warm corners of memory,
invent new rules, new games
and win.

Under the hot lances
of the shower, I play each point over,
and over,
and over

Wisdom is the natural business
of old men–
to let the body go,
the rafters, moth-eaten and decayed,
cave in.

But nightly in dreams I see
an old man
playing in an empty court
under the dim floodlights
of the moon
with a racket gone in the strings–
no net, no ball, no game–
and still playing
to win.


So many waving hands before the last,
when from the deck, leaning, you watch the dark
pull down those desperate, white, surrendering flags,
and turn to claim the land of never-leaving.
Practice must have some efficient end.
We grow so skillful in the arduous rites.
Each sun must have its words, each falling star;
each ticking of the great clock swings goodbye.
The girl whose mother gave me cookies died
when I was four; and even then, without
a catechism of defeats, I knew
the face the heart must make, the shape of tears.
Subtleties have mastered me since then.
I've learned to know when hands must signal arcs
of epic loss, or when despair will do,
but nothing grows more perfect but the pain.
Now I leave my home–a small hand-wave,
and yet the rhetoric of parting builds
with such enormous lendings from the past,
I can't escape without a cheating tear.
Why must we learn so well?–Because the end
is such a grave goodbye it must be done
with more than just a single perfect act
(the dead go fast, and some lack even hands),
or is there no country that never ends?



To leave a stone that will not last the night;
To keep a trust unkept by the faithless dead;
To cleanse my tears, or lack of them, I write
these words which will not pierce your soundless bed.
The book they should have swelled, you placed half-read
upon the shelf and snapped the reading light.

I used to mock you, Nan, for thumbing back
to steal the end before you earned its wages.
The sad you never read. Fastidious girl,
what ending made you shy this sunny book
and leave your loved ones wandering empty pages–
live characters without their living world?
Through the black-limbed trees,
I am staring at the lighted windows of my house.

How strange they look–
lost in the tiny business
of their lives–
                       all moving,
                      My wife setting the plates,
my children, darting in and out
at some unruly game,
the dog prancing behind,
I watch as at some play
of mimes
(Oh the tiny figures of dreams!),
exultant, tender, sad.
On my great beast paws
I shall run to those yellow windows and hidden
peer in–
I shall wrap them in silken handkerchiefs
like dolls–
I shall sit all night in the moon,
for the past.

And so again it seems that human pain
may be a devious thing, and all our fears
           so many hidden doors
           into the appointed place.

From islands–wind-tossed hills riding the sea–
you moved into the quarried bins of shame,
           and lost–yourself,
           your family, an entire past–
And like a one-legged man stumped down the streets,
owned by the subtle wanderings of that maze,
          finding in each face
          marks of the storied beast.
And grew, until that nightmare city seemed
the whole God-given world, and suffering
           too deeply yours to share
           or, grieving, give away.
Then cloud-like rose, into the evening sky,
and huge with the borrowed weight of all you were
           rained a child's joy
           on the green hill of the world.


First, that you made me weak. Oh very sound
in body–oak-limbed and awkward as a tree
that sheds its roots to walk upon the ground–
but slow in brain, shackled to analogy.
The flowers she picked you should have made me see
were different from the child, and in the lake
might float like stars, but childish gaiety
would sodden, wilt, and fail to come awake,
although I picked whole fields of flowers for her sake.
And second, that you made me ugly–all the dead
to choose from, and this the assembled face,
so stitched and marred the mirror turns its head
each time I pass, and time moves up its pace;
yet, like the gods, infatuate of grace.
I carried Beauty into the darkest wood,
but even the blinds of night could not efface
the sun's derision, no more than murder could–
and that face knelt with me to wash its hands of blood.

And finally, that you failed to understand
what you had made, but with steel bars and lies
half-verified the patchwork of your hand,
and then–at last–let fear invade your eyes;
so, broken-necked the monster-maker lies.
If I knelt down, my mouth against your mouth,
and breathed with all my might, would you arise,
and through those spells that charmed the jaws of death
make me again, a man, with some more God-like breath?



The crow sits on a jutting stone
above a field of snow–
one black, heroic period
in a world of flow.
Then flaps his wings and lumbers
into the air, to fly–
one small, black dot dissolving
in an endless sky.



Lying in the dark music,
thinking of faceless friends,
or those kept whole but marred
by envy or turned self-hate,
and Father's upturned face
fishing the lily ponds
of pain, alone, the moon
bandaging his head,
and all good children grown
up to the four winds,
tears move upon my face
like half notes on a sheet,
and I would be a grave
walked on by stones to keep
even a mouldering faith,
though time is the heart of music.


Condemned to Paradise,
I walk these glittering streets
scorched by the love in every face
my face must meet.

Crying for mercy mocked,
for justice scorned, undone,
while down my cheeks the tears of grief
and mercy run.
To prove my God a man
whom once I thought a king
I died, and through these streets his voice
comes echoing:
"Dark shadow of the sun,
dear, necessary shade–"
and once more, by the wiles of love,
I am betrayed.
And pride become mere folly,
reason and honor gone,
I wander here in hopeless joy
the fool of song;
And only when I remember
look back on earth and see
betrayer and betrayed still hanging
from the one dark tree.


For three long years I have practiced the art of dying.
In one month, you are dead.
Quick march, like the soldier you were, scouting enemy country
you have stolen ahead.
You who were my stay through those slow, blank midnights
when the suffering grew too much,
and only your pain in my pain gave me courage to bear it,
the strength of your touch.
Was it my long dying that wore you from the land of the living,
or just some foolish jest
that after all these years of mourning me, my going,
you should go first?
Sheer strength of will held the sun, hours past its setting,
on the rim of the fiery sky.
From too much love of the light I could not let him
drop down and die.

Now, tutored by your swift passing, I can see him tumble
into his cold, grey bed
unmoved, the daylight so much less lovely, more lovely the darkness
now you are dead.



Always the hilltops take me,
and always I go–
over the slight green rise at the end of fields,
over ridges of blue
distance–and on–where to–none know.

Having lived more than half my lifetime,
long ago I found
how hilltop leads on to hilltop, how mountain
to mountain gives ground,
past the horizon's bound.
And yet these exultant promises
still leap in my blood,
as I stand here gazing at the far blue heads of hills,
lost in the flood
of longing–for some unknown good.

O skyward leaping hungers
you are not lies!
Though your heights give way to other hilltops rising
beyond the reach of our eyes,
you are your own eternities.
I shall rest in you–both moving
and planted here,
in these green, curving flanks, these waves of earth and stone
that cresting in air
plunge down and break-upon what far-off shore?


In the dark room with grief
made musical, and pain
swelling the moist body
of night, till the night seemed,
for all its aching lamps
and cold archways, rich,
and the full moon-rising–
proof of the heart's size,
how could he then foresee
himself–grown-up–a man,
turning on a damp bed
like a child, tears burrowing
in, both head and throat
turned stone, and pressing down
upon each breath he breathed,
like shame, or a bad memory,
the intolerable body of loss.


When I was young, watching this same moon, huge,
rise through the gap-toothed houses in the east,
and hearing the March wind wrestling the black-topped elms
till their branches scraped the eaves, I dreamed the power
that lived in that moving darkness lived in me.
Now, having done all that I could, and failed,
I am content tonight to feel it still,
out there, moving through the barren, moon-tossed branches,
and know when I am dead it shall live on,
though not in me–having served it with my life.



From across the stream, on the side of the opposite hill,
I see a woman in a blue, wool coat who is walking her dog.
Her hair is as white as snow, and her dog snow-white.
They are walking through the plum-brown, silvery branches of trees.
Step after step she moves,
leaning on each foot, as the old do.
She is walking her dog and thinking.
Under the nest of her hair is another world–
are many other worlds–past, present, future–
but none of this shows.

She is walking her dog and thinking, and the dog too
is thinking–Bushes are telling damp, excited tales
of an earlier sun, of a darkness before this sun–
and the trees around them are thinking-slow, wooden thoughts
that stretch over centuries, and the earth in which the trees
root down also is pondering–deep, stone thoughts–
but none of this shows.
I see a woman in a blue, wool coat
who is walking a small, white dog
through the plum-brown, silvery trees.

(Last seen two thousand feet from the summit of Everest, still
And the clouds came down
                                          and hid them
and swallowed them up.
Two dots on the north ridge creeping
against the sky–
                         Long fingers of mist
descending the mountain's flank,
white crawling on white,
and reaching that thin, black ridge–
Into the camera's eye
the old man stares–
through the eye of memory–
"One thousand feet
I climbed up the north face,
hoping to find some sign, some last remains,
or meet them coming back–

"At the base camp below
we waited days,
necks craned, eyes straining, hoping against hope,
imagining apparitions winding down
the steep pass–

then raised two rocky cairns
and left."

There overhead–
                           the last knife
summit soaring–
snow streaming from its crest.
Only their feet decided, only their bodies plodding
numbly on–
                    too late in the afternoon, clouds closing in.
Just before dusk,
they could feel the wind-lashed ridge
stop rising,
                 and mind and body buried
in cloud,
they were at the top.

Exaltation, conquest, triumph–

They stood for some moments, floating
on the peak of the world,
feeling only that vague, numb floating–

then began
the long trip


"Mallory," said the wind,
"we have folded the white sheets back,
the pillows are plumped."

No malice in the tones–
only the humble servant
of their wills.

They hung for a moment
on the edge of pain,
then as from a long way dropped–
like two small snowflakes
into deep-piled drifts–

and what was men streamed out into the night.


The mountain
is a god.

Feet walk upon its crest
and leave no mark.

Embedded like mastadons
in its sheer side,
enshrined in perfect bodies,
still booted and mountain–clothed
they are staring out–
                               through ice-glazed eyes–
over the curve of the world.

"Mallory, Irvine, men who were seized by clouds,
who live in the pure white body
of a god, gaze over the world's top and comfort us,
who must meet our ends
in the white cubicles
of hospitals, behind drawn drapes, kept alive
by machines, floating in thick drugged clouds,
and looked at
through the white, distorted masks of those once loved–mirrors
of our own misery
and pain."


Down the mountain pass–
                                        two tiny figures
             bending in shining arcs,
                                                 in glittering
snow flashing from their skis.

Like birds with folded wings, straight down they drop,
riding the mountain's dips
and bends,
               till the scurf of ski on snow
swells loud in our ears.
"Apparitions, phantoms, black angels of wind
and sun, tell us your fate."

Blurred shadows they hurtle by, skis whistling.
"Look! Look! they shout,"
                                      waving back mittened hands,
as beyond the farthest bend they dip
and vanish.

          "But can we believe
our eyes?"

            From far beneath,
the echoes

            "Trust only
the dead."


Far above–
                  the mountain top.

Foot after foot we lift,
             Already our hearts labor.
Already our lungs leap, fish-like, at the air.

The slope beneath the slope, far under the final

            We are not mountaineers.
On a frozen rock we sit,
staring at freezing hands–
                                       (Will we never learn
that pleasure, comfort, pain
are nothing, that triumph's
our ends not the ends, and only glimpses
                             when under our feet there begins
a strange trembling–
                                inside our ears
a far-off thunder grows–
                                 the rock face splits,
the side of the mountain opens like a giant door
and before our eyes–in their honeycombs of light–
stand the dead,
enshrined in perfect bodies,
looking out through frozen eyes
and speaking in one vast whisper–
"Be human–
                    Follow your hopes–
                                                    Believe in your
farthest longings.

"And if you fall full-length in the drifting snow,
great dogs will come to your side and lick your hands–
If you plunge into air, the wind
will stretch out its arms and catch you in its bulging net–
and if on some ledge far from the top you freeze
into statues of ice,
the side of the mountain will open like a giant door,
and take you in–

                          where with the wise you will stand,
gazing across the white curve of the world."



–On a hill of sheep, crouched down like two black stones,
fooling the clouds that wander over the rim
of the blue May sky, wooly and slow as sheep,
but not the sheep–the small-brained, foolish sheep–
who know where black stones sit, and drift uphill,
calling their young with broken, nasal baas,
who answer in higher keys and trot stiff-legged
to their mothers' sides and kneeling under one flank
thrust up ferociously-clearing the dug–
and tails waggling in a wooly frenzy, drink–

Warm barnyard smells–The May sun drowzing down
upon our necks and shoulders. Like stones we sit,
watching the clouds slow-drifting over the hills,
lazy as sheep.
                   Against the green-wool curve
of the hill, how whitely the young lambs shine as they frisk
in idiot loops of joy. Two come so close
we could almost reach a hand and touch their soft,
mischievous faces.
                           But stones don't move, and today,
in this warm May sun we are content to be
like stones–like sheep–like barely drifting clouds.

She was not no one.

She had a given name,
a drawer of knitted things,
matched suits and sweaters,
a crib under the window
where the sun could look.

"Others will come," they said,
"to take her place."
                          (And they did.)
"Lucky," they said, "it happened now,
before ..."
                           (And it was true.)

Nine swelling moons,
like a small Greek goddess,
she ruled my moods,
talking in a morse code

of thumps and kicks.
But born still-born she was hustled
faceless away
to save a mother's

Foolish to mourn for someone
who was so nearly no one,
and after five long years grieve
     though less and less.

is not fact.
What never came to be–
never was.

(Though half the world's mourning
is for what never
Still, it was an error
not to take that tiny shriveled body
in my arms,
not to touch that thin, clenched face.

A grief that has no shape
is imageless.

Like a hidden fish it swims
under the sea, surfacing
at will,
or like a dark moon peers
through the window of any season,
any mood.

A grief without a shape
is endless.

It has no grave.


She lowers her body in and pushes off,
cold surging against her neck and shoulders
as she heads straight out, cleaving the pond's smooth face,
and leaving behind a path of bubbled light,
(Pines by the cabin shrink, the dock grows small)–
and leaving behind these last few months of pain
and misery–the white-draped cubicle, the harsh,
carbolic smell, love's shrunken head afloat
on its hollow pillow, eyes gummed shut,
mouth a cave round which a red tongue roves
like a frantic animal, searching for meanings lost
in that scooped-out dark, that cancer-eaten world–
and leaving behind the guilt of being well,
sad gravities of sleepless nights, dull fears,
nightmares, and the weight of her own body
which one day will betray the life it feeds
to this same numb dishonor and decay.

The sun flakes from her arms and warms her neck.
Halfway across, she turns upon her back
and swims with a lazy stroke, the spring-fed dark
beneath, above, the sky's blue grotto
in which she is also floating, beside white clouds–
the warm good wooly clouds, tinctured with sunlight–
weightless, desireless, consumed by a happiness
too deep for any purpose, any name,
her limbs lifting with the gently lifting waters,
the blue and easy motions of the sky–
all memories lost but the memories of now.

But slowly, behind her head, the hills loom up–
the prickly-headed pines, the white-trunked birches–
and not reaching down to touch the oozy depths
she turns, and begins to swim the long way back.


Hunts–through clear glass windows–
blue jays, chipmunks, mice.
Heaves up beneath curved palms
fur so softly sleek
the caressing hand delights.
Plays endlessly, preens
endlessly–on paws as pure
as milk eats from the kitchen
counter pellet-meat,
and hides from children's wars
under sofa caves and chairs,
ears slant and tail atwitch.
Kills nothing, fathers no one,
hones its claws
on the back of the red love-seat,
or sleeps, curled up in balls,
dreaming of hot pursuits
on running feet.

And shut, by chance, outdoors,
crouches under the leaves
of the rhododendron–trembling
at the shadows of wind and sun.
Is pampered, prospers, lives long,
has no fleas.



                               "Man is in love and loves what vanishes,
                                                                         ..." –Yeats

Flung nets of scent–sweet lily-of-the-valley air,
enticements of cherry, tinctures of flowering crab,
warm lilac fragrance, fragrance of flowering pear,
the promised smell of the not-yet fallen rain–
all lure you out, into the light green web
of her body, as if you might live there
always–free of misery, free of pain,
wrapped in a silken wonderment of green,
an emerald ecstasy, almost too sweet to bear.

Though spring is a season, summer a passing spell,
Lady, I am too happy in your arms,
lapped in the embrace of flowers, the tender swell
of the newly opening buds, and listening
to the criss-cross songs of birds, the gathering swarms
of the honey-bees–immersed in the beautiful,
too lost in the sensual joys of awakenings
to remember that all wakenings end, and spring
leads on to summer's shade, as summer leads to fall.
The tulips shine–red lanterns through the trees.
The tulips fall–spent petals in the grass,
their proud, sharp foliage sunk in a brown disease.
Even within the luxurious heart of May
that seed ripens, which makes all ripeness pass.
The blossoming time is a time of obsequies–
all growth a swelling outward, toward decay.
Death loves the sun and burgeons in its rays.
From the arms of spring, fall blooms, and stark December's freeze.


A flurry of blackbirds–starlings in a wood,
warring for seeds, wings beating, beaks like spears
stabbing in and out, their gold tips tinged with blood.
A chipmunk, fleeing, dives beneath a stone.
A cat crouches, pounces, plays, devours.
Eat and be eaten–is the simple brotherhood
of nature. Arising from field and wood hear the moans
of hundreds of tiny creatures–hurt, alone,
dying. This lush-green, prodigal world is not the good.

Strip off the green dress–find the skeleton,
(The bare bones stir, uneasy in their leaves)–
and dance the dance of loss till the dance is done.
All living's dying. Motion's at the heart of life–
and every motion leads on–towards our graves.
Goddess, enchantress, here on your blue-striped lawn,
among your gold-touched flowers and flowering light,
lengthening with long shadows towards the night,
I can find no peace in shadows, no comfort in the sun.
Somewhere–beyond this world–there is a place
which is no place, a time which is no time,
where sun and shadows blend and interlace,
motion and stillness meet and make one thing.
There, in that garden, each flower wears a face,
each earth-clod, every pebble bears a name,
and birds sing because of the songs they sing,
nothing blooms beyond its own rich blossoming,
and ends and beginnings join, body and soul embrace.


Yet Lady, here in your soft arms let me lie,
engrossed in the subtle blandishments of spring,
in love with the new-fledged leaves, the pure blue sky
(black graveyard where suns flare out, burn and fade)
an accomplice in my own life's vanishings,
knowing that with each breath you breathe you lie,
but entranced with this flickering world of light and shade,
this green phantasy you weave and then unweave–
dying as I live, and living as I die.


3 - Biography

Paul Petrie was born in 1928 in Detroit, Michigan in an area which, at that time, was on the outskirts of the city, an area both urban and rural.

Educated at Wayne State University and The University of Iowa, he was a
member of the Miles Poetry Group at Wayne, and the Iowa Writers Workshop under Lowell, Berryman and Engle. While in Iowa City he met and married the artist Sylvia Spencer, and they have three children. After a year off in Mallorca, Spain, he taught for one year in Nebraska and for thiry-one years at the University of Rhode Island, during which period he spent two sabbatical leaves in Devon, England, as well as several months in Settignano and Amsterdam.
His main vocation throughout his life has been poetry, and his work has been published in eight collections and over one hundred literary journals.

Retired now he continues to write, while working toward his final degree at that famous institution, The Academy of Goodbye.


4 - Afterword

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