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Due to a bit of nagging and a little encouragement from friends and family members I have made available here some of my old longer poems. In a way it is a little retrospective on my poetic career. Some of the poems presented here date back to my teen years in the 60's. None of them are as well known as "Beside Cold Water" or "Littleton". None are as well crafted as "The Bottom of the Ocean" or as polished and precise as the "Shadows" but they do stand on their own merits. An evolving philosophical vein passes through them all and makes a retrospective journey interesting for the reader. Below I have written a little introduction for each of them. The navigation buttons are in the left frame. 

"Between the Heart and Soul" is the oldest poem presented here. The first draft dates to 1966. I wrote the "Liese" stanza first during English class my junior year of high school. "And So Falls a Man" was a separate poem written in 1967 that I edited to fit in 1977 when the entire poem was rewritten in preparation for publication. For my friends: all of the stanzas are about people I went to school with. 

The first draft of "Idylls" was handed in as a term paper in my twelfth grade English class in 1967. I received a resounding "F" for my little rebellion but the poem did cause a bit of controversy in the teachers' lounge. The entire poem was drastically rewritten in 1977 but each stanza remained subjectively the same.

I wrote "Lost Baby, Lost" in the student union at UWW one morning in 1968. My friends Bruce, Debbie and Trudy watched me do it. I was moved by the events of the day. The edition here is from 1977 but is very close to the original. It is in some ways a tribute to W. H. Auden who was a considerable influence on my early work. It is full of literary allusions.

I must warn the reader that "South Side Winter Love Song" is a very dark piece. It was written over an eighteen month span in the late 70's during which I endured the premature deaths of a family member and a friend both in their early 20's. The drug culture was a factor in both deaths. I was drinking heavily and wrote in short frenetic bursts. The poem itself took so long in its painful evolution, that I never completely edited it until 1993 in Colorado, when I nearly lost my wife in an automobile accident. It is still difficult for me to read. This poem was the beginning of my struggle to find a dialectic defining the origins of human consciousness. I also began to truly embrace the "self-teaching" mystery of poetry which was to serve me well in the future.

"A Letter to an Old Friend" is a self-effacing but cleverly pointed response to a Charismatic Christian friend of mine who hounded me regularly to attend his church. The edition is from 1982. 

"Dancing Children Disappear" is an experimental attempt to use poetry to intellectually grapple with the origins of human consciousness. In this poem I began to use poetry to provide answers to others rather than seek answers for myself. Though "Dancing Children Disappear" was not entirely successful in its purpose, the function of poetry changed for me after this piece. It is from 1989 and has never been edited or published. I lifted two lines from it in "The River".

I began to write "Journal: Hard Rhymes, Hard Times, Wedding Chymes" in 1988 with the stanza beginning, "the king went up on Tara". I chose the stricture of the form and continued to add four line stanzas and move them around in the poem for five years. The last stanza was completed in 1993. This poem was the beginning of what poetry is for me now - the mystery of remembering. I personally like the piece though it does not possess the clarity of my later work.  I lifted a few words and the subjective point of one stanza in "The River".

"The Charm" is from 1997 and was originally composed as an addition to "Journal" and is in the same form. I decided to let it stand alone as it seemed to dark. It is a response to a betrayal of trust and is full of literary allusions.

"The One Hope" is from 1998. Though initially a dark piece it is really a reflection of the bravado of the human spirit. The initial allusion is to Lautremont.