From Perfect Worlds

Generally, my poems seem to fit into two categories — long poems, usually dramatic monologues, and sonnets. I usually have a lot to say, and I love the challenge of saying everything in fourteen lines.

Sonnets are best as love poems, and mine are no exception. This particular sonnet style is a newer form that is a combination of terza rima (which Dante used) and the traditional sonnet. It creates a wonderful sound that swirls around itself. This particular one has a sadder ending than most of my sonnets, but it is no less a love sonnet, even if love is unrequited.


I waited days to see you sitting there —
The strands of black as fallen lightly o’er
Your cheek, inviting neck (but blocked by hair).

It’s just like dreams I’ve dreamèd just before
The morning light does drag me then away
From perfect worlds I never wish be torn.

Impression seen and play’d in those long days
I spend without a sight of you in view,
And all my thoughts and then my heart betray.

But what to do but sit and stare at you?
For I cannot my hopes and dreams now heed,
But though my heart will push my mind says no —

For as I watch a perfect world repeat,
You watch another man instead of me.

© Copyright 2002 by Paul Lytle. All rights reserved.


One of my favorite poems, inspired by the strange but luring style of T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”

At the corner under the warm streetlight,
Under the dark sky made so bright
By the lamp on that corner,
Between the streets that border that scene —
Trapping me inside
With the sidewalk and yard’s grass —
I wait:
Wait until the last
For you to come and meet me
By that lamp on that street.

The expected time arrives, now gone.
All that time expecting you’d come.

Why was it such a surprise
After all the lies transpired between,
After all the days we’ve seen?
Those days repeat and reappear —
They drone on into weeks and years,
And days bring shades of black and white,
And right and wrong.
(Was I the wrong one all along?)

All the regrets I now feel
For a perfect Love you choose repeal.
We’ll wait a wait for a better day —
A way to finally escape from us,
A way to finally flee from Love.

The street lamp burns and steals the night
By lighting the dark and drowning the stars,
With great might pushing them away
To create an eternal day on that street corner,
Even through days and weeks and nights between.

I see I’ve waited far too long now,
On this night you won’t arrive
To join me under this streetlight.
(I never really thought you would.)
But still I wait and do not stray
From my place by the bright street lamp,
O’er hours and hours and passing days.

© Copyright 2002 by Paul Lytle. All rights reserved.


ExcelsiorThe “hard album.” I mainly wanted to do a collection that rocked, so the uniting rule for this album was that every song had to have a distorted guitar. The whole album is available for free download.

Click here to download

1. I Believe
2. Time
3. Instrument of My Soul
4. 4
5. Slipping Away
6. Full Circle
7. All the Way
8. Be Someone
9. Fine Then
10. Be That Way
11. Maybe
12. Red Notebook
13. Through the Trees
14. The Next Stoning
15. Barren Hearted Wanderers
16. Oblivious to Me
17. Instrument of My Soul (Reprise)

At Roxana’s Wedding

Cyrano de Bergerac made a very big impression on me, and has been an influence ever since I first read it.  This poem shows that influence most directly.


I seek a sound that’s fragrance lanced,
And word not one is out of place.
But they are said by else’s face —
That part of me has been replaced,
And I may just compose.
Instead the voice is deep and strong —
A worthy one to sing the song.
His shoulders wide and features long,
Except his normal nose.

She seeks a man of poet’s mind,
But also strength she wishes find,
To hear her beauty said in line,
And handsome man to write the rhyme.
Yet I can but compose.
And so I sat in sad remorse
With words to say but lacking force,
For line is wasted when its source
Is ’neath a giant nose.

And so my wit is lent away
To he who all the sports can play,
Whose mind has not a thought to say.
Without a single kiss repay,
There I will but compose.
Yes, he is handsome, fit and trim,
And women will again, again,
They one by one will go to him,
And from this horrid nose.

Perhaps we two together might,
With words to make her heart delight
And body of unquestioned might,
Perhaps we’d be the man she’d like.
And so I did compose.
But one, not two, may there succeed —
The one Roxana looks and sees,
The mouth that speaks the lines she needs,
And not the hidden nose.


The two form one is two once more,
The man created now is torn,
But in his death a husband born —
The voice not needed as before.
And I need not compose.
So there they stand before the Priest,
The focus of a wedding feast.
And I in back — the ugly beast
With far too large a nose.

They say the vows, repeating fast
How there forever love will last.
Oh, how I pray this feeling pass
From me then to my voice and mask
For whom this love composed.
Perhaps, in future I will find
That marriage may not always bind.
But what could happen in this time?
For only God this knows.

’Tis foolish, yes, those hopeful thoughts,
As though I even really fought.
He’s not the man Roxana sought.
Those words he said were those I taught
In all that I composed.
Those lines she read and then did hear
Were from my mouth and to his ear,
And then I seemed to disappear,
And with me left this nose.

In hidden shadows, with my tongue,
With words as true as church bells rung,
’Twas there and then romance begun.
And ne’er before had he so sung
As with my lines composed.
Before my eyes they met and kissed,
And in that touch were both in bliss.
But not a word of mine was missed,
And nor my cursèd nose.


So I am left with only words,
But never more will they be heard.
This man ’out I seems so absurd,
But where I stopped is growing blurred.
I can no more compose.
The half of man that I once made
Is left there speaking in the shade.
Oh, but the words, they slowly fade,
Left hidden by a nose.