My third book of poetry. I had got to the point of not wanting to find myself working a particular groove, writing on the same themes over and over. I thought why not, since I was a great reader of folk stories and fairy tales growing up; since poetry has a long tradition of story-telling (and the alliteration and rhythm I love belong to the oral saga) begin creating in the story-telling vein?
Mystery Plays is divided into four books, as described below:
Mystery Plays. These are free-standing pieces, on remembered experiences, on behind-the-scenes skullduggery, on the ordinary person’s pivotal moment.
The seventh sister glimpsed and hidden, meets the
Did he see? And does this mean?
The farmer’s wife has sold them all for rhinestones
(from “The Bull’s-Eye”)
Mr. Boots. Boots is a household politician, who alleviates boredom with his attempts to trick the dog, Poppet, into transgression, and to pit one nameless goldfish against another—or both against the cleaner fish. He meets the lowlier members of the household creature-ocracy: the dust mites, the fleas, the black widow spider.
Haunt of Thieves. A parable about sacrifice, set in an alternate world. A lost soldier from a defeated army wanders alone, until he can go no further. He must cross the mountain pass where thieves prey on travelers. He meets a stranger, whose help he must take on faith.
Fairy Tales. In “The Fisherman” and “The Wife”, her wish is to be heard when she speaks, and given a role to play in her nation’s affairs. “Fortune” is told by the three gifts given to the sons of “The Three Children of Fortune”: the cat, the scythe, and the cock. “The Cook”, a minor figure from “How Six Traveled Through the World”, learns the danger of loyal obedience.