Fall 2023, Volume 35

Poetry by Peter Klein

Camp Fire

If you ever found yourself, like I did,
walking away from the flames, tired
of the grilling, the beer, and the laughter
and games for fun that turned up bores.

The heat of the fire hot on your cheeks,
you walked through moonlight, and dancing
fiery shadows, in under the trees.
Stepping softly on beds of spongy needles,
fallen from pines that prickle the clouds,
their thick lichened trunks attended by stones,
their greyness dressed in a mossy green.

And you'll wonder, what is the greater feat;
to raise the dead, or to grow on stones.

You'll think this a silent, eternal cathedral,
a place to pause, searching for a word,
inside the silence that plays pedal point
to the wind-organ music up in the crowns.

And you might come across, like I did;
a few broken egg-shells, and a turned over basket,
woven from feathers, twigs and dried yellow grass.
The work left behind by two grieving sparrows;
this then the crime of the red shouldered hawk.

And you'll think, that in these woods,
there are never weddings, but there should
be funerals, for sorrow is sorrow, even
sparrows grieve, and if what happens
must happen, it still should be mourned.

But here you are only a tourist, allowed
a while to stand hatless and breathe
the earth, before going back to stoke the flame.




BIO: Peter Klein began writing after a career in Quantitative Finance. He was born in Sweden as a son of two holocaust survivors from Hungary. He lives with his wife in Greenwich, CT and is the proud grandfather of six.