(University of Illinois at Springfield, USA)


ISBN: 978-1-952799-45-7






          Ethan Lewis, dubbed “Poet laureate of Hawthorne Place,” writes daily, stopped only perhaps by night time: “But then again, bed beckons: ‘It is time. / You satisfied exigencies of rhyme.’”  Doesn’t he declare, “Pentameter helps pass the time”?  Maybe it is a way for him to keep away, at least for a while, “our fate: to disappear”; and does he know how to cry for a departed friend: “Our loss.  Your gentle soul and kindest life.”  Ethan Lewis does not ignore what he owes to other poets before him, whom he cites: William Blake, William Shakespeare, Homer, Charles Baudelaire, Ezra Pound, Emily Dickinson, Robert Burns, John Wilmot, and so many others.  Time is passing, but “rhymes sill limn the present century.”  Ethan Lewis admits “the objective subjectivity of time” and, as a lucid poet, plays with it.  Love comes and goes, but, as a visionary, Ethan Lewis can state: “I presage a renaissance of love.”  Music inhabits his poems, and he celebrates many composers who have influenced him, from Sebastian Bach to Anton Bruckner, Charpentier to Corelli, Mendelssohn, with a deep knowledge and a bright kindness.

          As a man living in Springfield, Ethan Lewis purposely writes poems about Chicago and O’Hare Airport, and about the whole state of Illinois.  At times, they echo the Galesburg, Illinois poet Carl Sandburg’s immortal poem, Chicago, and some of the most beautiful poems by Ethan Lewis’ colleague and poet, and friend, Rosina Neginsky, in her book of poems, Juggler.  Days, months, seasons, flow with their cortege of light, tornado watch, and snow, trees’ leaves and birds’ feathers: “So sun and rain and time will have their way.”  The nature loving poet is not fooled, though, and is clearly conscious of all the degradations made by man to his beloved trees.  Two words to shout his distress, “It stings,” maybe not to say more prosaically that ‘it stinks.’  Even used, then abandoned, Christmas trees sadden him: “I’d like to think somewhere a sacred wood / Keeps evergreen those fronded that had stood.”

           Ethan Lewis loves his cats, be they “at the window,” or gone “elsewhere to explore,” faithful and dignified companions of his daily life.  He likes their sense of restrained humor, their definite search for freedom, no doubt a “strong argument that cats shall enter heaven.”  He respects and honors his parents, too.  He shows with an economy of words how hard it is to watch them slowly vanish away, vanquished as they are by dementia coming with age: “What does she still remember?”  As a God fearing, loving son, he feels allowed to pray the Lord for mercy: “Could we […] beg an amnesty from ills of age, / And just grow older simply, pain assuage?”  Ethan Lewis is a melancholic and proud poet, who dares speak on behalf of his fellow human beings and does it magnificently.  He certainly personifies what poetry is and what makes a poet; he says it loudly: “Enough.[…] Even in Hyvee the muse might call us.”



                                                                                                                                                                                      ALAIN SAINT-SAËNS

                                                                                                                                                                                     Poet and Literary Critic

                                                                                                                                                  (Institute for Advanced Strategic Studies, Asunción, Paraguay)


                                                                 NOTRE DAME


                                            This April morn the steeples in our city

                                            Still as always punctuate the sky.

                                            Impossible that spires recede in pity,

                                            Impossible that architraves should cry.

                                            Concatenated chimes still herald the hour

                                            In syncopation—bells split seconds apart.

                                            The sun through stained glass rains a color shower;

                                            At noon the organ concerts will still start.

                                            Though Bach and Handel move the listener’s heart,

                                            Music today affords no sanctuary.

                                            The chimes, the spires, the glass from mind depart,

                                            And anomie attacks the soul.  We’re weary

                                            From the Paris fires that raged throughout the night

                                            In stark antithesis to Holy Light.






                                            What is it that accounts for open fields

                                            Unlocking all emotion?  Reason yields

                                            To seas of soy or corn, to cultivated green

                                            Of golf or diamonds: any vista seen

                                            That situates the stars before my eyes

                                            As well as overhead; that shall apprise

                                            Of lightning storms that on flat platforms dance

                                            And signal strollers of their hairbreadth chance,

                                            By hastening home, to outrace inundation.

                                            For me, horizons constitute foundations.

                                            Though I marvel at the majesty of mountains;

                                            Likewise, revere the violent torque of fountains

                                            Sheering down from cliffs to detonate—

                                            From early on in my novitiate

                                            To nature, heart and soul were pledged to plains.

                                            The beatific horizontal reigns.



                                                                SMALL WONDER


                                            It’s true, some people do look like their dogs.

                                            The college co-ed years don’t yet betray,

                                            In the quad at noon, airing her Irish Setter,

                                            Resembles him in spirit more than letter—

                                            Their pride and youth and sheen embrace the day.

                                            But my neighbor in diurnal dialogues

                                            With his Jack Russell (“Phoebe.”  Bark.

                                            “Yes, Phoebe.”  Bark.)—their eyes and jutting jaws,

                                            Their miens indubitably bear a stark

                                            Similitude that gives me puzzled pause.

                                            (And summons, silent as bemused, applause.)




                                            Sometimes on walks I take back alley ways.

                                            The nether side of high rises betrays

                                            An urban secrecy that whispers, where

                                            In front an ordered chaos reigns, back here

                                            In shadow, stray pedestrians can find

                                            A brief asylum.  Alleys ease the mind.


                                            And then the concrete corridors lead out

                                            To crowded squares of wariness and doubt.




ETHAN LEWIS, Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Illinois-Springfield, has authored seven previous books: with Robert Kuhn McGregor, an Edgar Allan Poe Award-winning monograph on Dorothy L. Sayers, Conundrums for the Long Weekend (Kent State UP 2000); and, published by Cambridge Scholars Press, Modernist Image (2010), Reflexive Poetics (2012), The Shakespeare Project and Ensuing Essays (2015), Literary Nuances: Millions of Strange Shadows (2018), Literary Essays: On Explicable Splendours (2020), and Modern Sonneteers, Hilary Mantel, and Critical Letters: A Tryptich (2021). 

Lewis’  work has appeared in several venues—including, on multiple occasions, Paideuma, Spring (journals of the Ezra Pound and E.E. Cummings Societies, respectively), South Dakota Review, University of Mississippi Studies in English, and Papers of the International Symbolist Conference. His chapter on “Imagism” is compassed in The Cambridge Companion to Ezra Pound. Take Fives constitutes the yield of a pleasing poetic renascence after a nearly two decades’ lull since last he cast a line in love or anger, or even equanimity.



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