Series Editor - Jim Bennett

Introduction by Jim Bennett


Hello.  Welcome to the next in the series of CITN featured poets.  We will be looking at the work of a different poet in each edition and I hope it will help our readers to discover some new and exciting writing.  This series is open to all to submit and I am now keen to read new work for this series.


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



Oil of sneakers stains the cement garage floor.

Wings clipped, touch & go

You bite the haloes of your nails:

Will we be buried in linseed-oiled pear wood

after years in black cafes?

Will we be wrapped in tallowed linen?


                 from; Christ Church, Elbow Park by Lynn Strongin





Which of these wild birds will alight

The people who live here after me

Back in the Chill of the Courtyard

The Sleep Field


Christ Church, Elbow Park

II - The part of our married bliss that peels away from our  other life is saddening

III - Why you have always loved neon

IV - You have been translating 18th century papal briefs

V - Multiple Languages came at me like 




Born in 1939 in New York City, Strongin has had twelve books published, and has edtied two anthologies among them THE SORROW PSALMS: A Book of Twentieth C. Poetry (Unitversity of Iowa Press, 2006.) This year she was nominated for both the Griffin AWard for Excellence in Poetry and The PUlitzer PRize in Letters. SHe makes her home in British Columbia, Canada






Which of these wild birds will alight

On the tenants roof at night once I am gone?

Telling stories            not about the opera not from the Bible

Will they live deep down                        as I have done?

I find it hard to be harsh with Prue, said the older Irishwoman:

I sit out the bathroom & we speak back & forth while she is bathing.

Which wild birds. . .

Who will organize the printer’s ball?

Costumeville I lived in, designing new costumes for this, that pain

who may bellow            yes, Will sing sea-chants, or earth hymns?

Polished praises or raw psalms?

I will never see them, look into their eyes

what will their heritage, their faith be?

Will they wear round the neck crucifix or Star of David

I any emblem.                        Will they hold la miniature horse by the rein if they are blind? Will they have a little Moll trailing after them if they are denied, the live alone, alone at heart kind?

What will be their good, their low times of day

as if they breathed with one heart, a family.

Will they be like their canary

a bird in a cage free only from time-to-time momentarily

barred again

their feathers not all of one satin

like a bridal gown.

They will not come forth n that case to take their vows all in one

moment but will gradually acquire them like moss a rolling stone.



The people who live here after me

what will they bring forward from their former time?

What suitcases use to transport everything

they want to use in this life?

To the very next tenants,                        let me say:

Be thou always above time;

The scars on the mahogany will lose their lustrous mark:

the page turner will be hard to see            he / she will become a mere etching next to the soloist:

so set the music stand up carefully next

the window washing out to sea all detritus.

Dried lilac hanging in every corner

                                    each & every mercy

you can use                        employ. Justified.

What can I do to make life better, different for you

I wanted to say a thousand times a day

as many as there are birds in harvest sky                        caps in sea:

Don’t be rushed, drawn every which way, condense yes but never

crammed into a corner:            you count too much for that

I’ll say:                                    like those finger-people that make up a child's closed steeple

will they jam & darken the scene, the feelings?

Spring had a wintry edge on Wednesday as a snowstorm shut down

proving the fluidity of existence.

You will last, cracking nuts like enigmas,

x just gets the hang of it.

Just get the hang of it.

A white hummingbird: ash may ground flights in Europe for days.

The bruise has no last page.




Back in the Chill of the Courtyard

As the tree tilts more toward winter

sky is the color of calfskin.

For what was I condemned?                        Getting over the top, the white mysticism all alone?

What to do? It was birthright when you consider all loss, scant gain.

Waste no word.                         Put on the owl-light of a bird, plummet                        To attain a great, clear depth

which is speechless

tongue cut out by the roots.

Odd and wise.  Only into truth

in the signal bed, (truth above all) of the bone cubicle.

Radically handsome.

Taking breath away            tossing away the key

& throwing the key over a precipice.




The Sleep Field


Waterlights gloam.

Plowing the sleep field

with scythe of memory, cart of bone to keep the yield,

I wanted always to be a current witness            never have a writing disorder:

Writing as though under the rush of leukemia,

I wanted to wear the denims of my brother-in-law

I wanted to borrow the denims of my lover

of a walking person

as though polio were not the torment of a lifetime.

But what sadness was speaking/ Whose cradle rocking, being rocked

So often so little happens.

Those who come after me            will not have to frame the same sentences,

think up radiograms to send midnight beyond agony

across the oceans and on into the continent

of pain as known as the back of your hand.

            They will be the people who come after me

            people: they will hold no passport, only wings to land.





Blown like silvery  cigarette ash.

We were the kids who had been there.

Memories of stillbirth. Ash.

Tooling the snow flake

even down to the silvery endpaper the new book with be a wonder

our illumined writing

even a toad down to the flecks in hi iris

a silent egg.

My hells seed my heavens.

Old                        say the carpets, the windows, thru draperies:

hammertoes.                        But the wind whispers

young, it has love on its tongues, the shoes?

Night is The Hague and Hunger, the quiet weaver’s songs

quiet but not silent like an egg.

Climbing a glass ladder, a rung could shatter, break & if I touched it, it would bleed.

A necklace of words on firm earth            our Sargasso Sea

starry nights.                        We were kids who had been there.

A boy thinks of the March of Dimes as dimes all marching, silver-booted like the filling in a tooth, like an army

to some slate sea, writing like chalk on a blackboard, come not near me.

But nearer & nearer it came, that army

My things were burned,            friends, a year later, turned away for fear of contagion.

Some nights those objects float back one-by-one, unburned smooth as an egg again.

Children thought polio was just another war off there in Europe maybe

clouds of contagion: lose / lose:

But make the sparrows of clay

that they not fly away.




NEW YORKIAN SPELL over girlhood


I was a swimmer in autumn wood smoke


year turned on silent hinges


of solemn bronze.


I had a remote reader, a blind cousin.


A slow hallucinatory psalm father’s communiqués in cross-shaped wards

where tension was high


Were like wildflowers


In a storm


Human resonance amid desolate interiors of hospital rooms, inheritors

of death:


Emergency wards were not lethal


I walk thru this gulf as a dove or gull sails over ocean


Another spell


His eyes


Said. Ash is slow drifting & calm over children’s lost shoes, raw psalms

light and are sung


In Palestine.


Dutch. Gothamite. Longing for a canyon deeper than risk taking


Nerves could command: one becomes many things: the stick figure on he

crucifixion in its terrifying radiance and over reaching threshold of



a bell  ringer gone deaf


dark patches of snow


the hell of loneliness, which is childhood


a convex mirror in a Dutch painting


lyrics, which are, modulate but strike a final note pitched so sharply

it should be given no more word play


it is sheer pain.

(to be published in ASKEW online.)



Christ Church, Elbow Park

Lapis cracks but slowly as pearls are ground to dust (Hilda Raz/ “Fire Should  Be Measured by What Didn’t Burn “National Public News”


The radius of this recent pain has a buzz:

pales & thorns            nails & spikes

the little bird, the rail rallies against darkness            day no longer hikes her skirts up crossing a stream, but puts on wool stockings, dreams.

Sorrow’s sorrel-pony is in harness.

He shades the bells                        we bless nightfall.

We caress

Oil of sneakers stains the cement garage floor.

Wings clipped, touch & go

You bite the haloes of your nails:

Will we be buried in linseed-oiled pear wood

after years in black cafes?

Will we be wrapped in tallowed linen?

Who will tie, by Christ Church, Elbow Park, a bandage

give umbrage At death will we be

Divided a cleavageof luck & loss

light & dark

horse-drawn, silver harnessed umbrage?




The part of our married bliss that peels away from our  other life is saddening

deer park locked with snow: Pearling

an ice floe                        ( we remember the old days); the ice

casts a light back at the sky

triggering a hollow feeling in the lungs like wings struggling to open

Life is a numinous labor of transformation

gradually assuming imperbiability of  marble

dresser top:

cold of the brass pull.

slowly opening                        a Pandora’s box:

Like children we extended our arms (a cape flies open, a carapace)

we want to be elevated

in all our stream-lined sea-eyed beauty

although we are sixty and seventy.

I set my age outside                        on a tree

to glint mysteriously                        treacherously:

the mystery draws me the silver mirror scares me

These things for which we give the other no signal, the heart whose fingers were rapped, kept in line at school

multi-faceted, a snow box, are scarred, scored & somewhat cruel.





Why you have always loved neon


Hello again, dark dog, Melancholy, off your anti-depressives, tongue lolling, body

the color of  musk rose

mother of the ghost who barked at heels

the ghost the tint of an old dusty wedding gown.

In between times the funeral arranges itself like a ballerina

the weather will be rain

the color of the sky violet

the sounds a drone: intersections of Calvary & Maine lit up tubing:

between baths (as many a day as after polio)

an ice pack makes me dream of Labrador

polar bears. I could have, should have cottaged you

I lift myself from the brown couch, a chestnut in bloom

knowing why you have always been attracted to neon

hug me in black cashmere sweater turtleneck thick ribboned

hug me in a ribbing of forgiveness

for inscrutable pain.





You have been translating 18th century papal briefs


sent around Europe in post French-revolutionary Europe as anti-Illuminists

I am you and you are me

I am the door

rushed to a field hospital. Don’t want so much attention, it’s brutal.

Sure, I say, though I’m not so sure. Thanks in advance.

Nurse Kay is known on the children’s ward as Nurse Okay

Four foot ten inches tall.

Tannery Primary school U.K. nurse’s training:

she wears the flag of Britain on her breast pocket. Her breast underneath must be hardly a swelling on the chest                        taking me back to that last tie &

The British brass bands created to keep industrial workers healthy.

Sweeps of gold trumpets rang & swung like church bell ropes

outside brick factories in evening.            Each nightfall when I’m not lucky ward light returns to me, a bogey-woman with torch.

The bed linens are scorched                        my name is besmirched

if (unlike a Catholic or southern girl) I touch myself. Not ruled that legs stay together like best friends.

What could warn me of the agon, the boy never upset the steamer, he

was innocent:

treachery on the other side of the mirror where things are slidey, slippery  a skinny dinner for the soul wailing at the broken man:

hungry, tired, thirsty.





Multiple Languages came at me like pigeons from the cote, terror with a blood-red throat: pulsing ruby

Last night barely got home when like melons big heads bobbed  hydrocephalic children’s’  ghosts talking

all in languages I could not understand

Blinded as a mirror blind sights one when slanted in all directions by a restless hand.

Last winter

You wore the final tie I ever saw on a woman.

I do not want to go back to that day                        ever

A sever-

and with the past I desire

when I was a roughneck riding branches like ponies,

Viewing ancestors down distant hallways

multi-layered smoke-colored, coke-colored glass

Could oval become more oval?

Could owl become more owl?

Could language, which unveils

tighten the throat as a hood would the head

if hood were cauled child,  cowl?



3 - Afterword

Email Poetry Kit - info@poetrykit.org    - if you would like to tell us what you think.  We are looking for other poets to feature in this series, and are open to submissions.  Please send one poem and a short bio to - info@poetrykit.org

Thank you for taking the time to read Caught in the Net.  Our other magazine s are Transparent Words ands Poetry Kit Magazine, which are webzines on the Poetry Kit site and this can be found at -