Recalling days of vigor and simplicity,
of boyish spirits spun from neural gossamer
and hardened into granite by a panoply
of actors: scamps of nimble wit, a conjurer
of whimsy, lords of innocent irreverence.
Societies of soulmates lent the sacred halls
a mood Socratic, scholars bonded to evince
a prim solemnity, while gibes and caterwauls
assembled armor for the battles yet ahead.
Then springs succumbed to autumns, and the gauntlets, plates,
and shields were laid aside for laurels in their stead.
But hovering, like dreams, are worn facades: and fates
decree that labyrinths of old meander yet
in stony gatherings of graying silhouette.


First published in The Lyric, Summer 2021.



Paul Buchheit is an author of books, poems, essays, and scientific journal articles. He recently completed his first historical novel, 1871: Rivers on Fire.  He was a Laureates’ Choice prize winner in the 2022 Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest.  His poetry has appeared in The Lyric, Lucid Rhythms, 2021 Poets & Patrons of Chicagoland annual contest,  2021 Illinois State Poetry Society Contest, Burningword, The Ledge, The Formalist, State of Nature, Illinois State Poetry Society, Chicago Poetry Review, and Light Quarterly.

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12 Responses

  1. Cheryl Corey

    Congratulations on your many contest winnings and fine poetry, including the above. If you’d like to share, what is your novel about?

    • Paul Buchheit

      Thanks, Cheryl. My novel is historical fiction related to the Chicago fire of 1871 and the less well-known but much deadlier fire in northern Wisconsin on the same night.

  2. Jeremiah Johnson

    Though I never went to seminary, your sonnet does stir up nostalgia for my grad school days. Thank you!

  3. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Paul, I love the linguistic intricacies of this poem, a poem that has immense aural appeal. It benefits from being read aloud. It also bears reading more than once to savor the insightful yet playful flavor of the message. The closing three lines touched my heart… perhaps it’s because they whisper with ghostly musing of my future winter years. Beautiful!

  4. Paul Freeman

    There’s a mystic feel to this poem that starts off playfully with all the character types, but becomes more ‘mood Socratic’ (what a great term) as the poem progresses.

    Thanks for the read, Paul.


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