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Barry Wallenstein's poetry, from his first book in 1977 to now, addresses his awareness of time's swift passing. The poems continue this time-honored theme and its attendant thoughts and emotions. Now in his eighth decade this theme is paramount. While time is explicitly central in the first and eighth sections, other sections speak of desire, music, current events, creatures of all sizes and states of mind. Poems in each of the groups reflect the anxieties of our current period including references to the ongoing pandemic and quarantine, as well as overriding reflections on temporality. These poems also are full of appreciation and gratitude for life's bounty. While avoiding the personal or autobiographical, Wallenstein's emotional life is more apparent here than in his work of the past.


Surely it was an error or a lucky punch

that let me slip through

and continue in this living room,

the best room on the planet,

when the others have left,

some few, years ago

some others, just lately.


They no longer know I’m here

in the room, or maybe,

possessed by magic,

some do know

and think my way,

feel into the corners

of this large room.


It cools a little

every time someone leaves.

All the coats, hats, scarves,

neatly hung in the closet,

are bored on their hangers,

devoid of utility.


So, I stick around

and envision my needs,

palpate my hunger,

photograph all I can,

find the music

that keeps me listening

and in touch with the players.


Out this plate glass window

beauties pass by,

a phoebe, a falling feather,

a postal worker with parcels;

boys and girls who vibrate

on the verdant lawn.

The past tense makes no sense.

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