PoetryIssue 03 | February 2009

Dwellan to Dwelled

by Richard Fein

Dwellan, in old Teutonic tongues that word was much nuanced,
but never meant anything remotely near home-sweet-home.
Dwellan, dwellen, dwelljenan,
to make a fool of, to deceive, mislead,
not to stay safely put but to be led astray,
to be stunned and perplexed by the world,
and so to become dangerously giddy then to fall into a stupor,
to taste a narcotic berry, to devour a deadly nightshade,
to lapse into error and so to spiral into madness,
and from madness into heresy and perhaps to burn at the stake.
Those were the myriad meanings of dwellan.
But a living language wags a restless tongue
and is never frozen in one position, time, or place,
unlike so many speakers of that tongue.
And so somewhere, sometime in medieval England,
one banana peel slip-up canceled a lifetime of prudently paced steps
and left one delayed, lingering, hindered, a pratfall clown
obsessed with that one mindless misstep
where at that place, when at that time, in Chaucer’s English
one pitched a domicile of regrets and within it, dwelled.

About the author

Richard Fein has been published in many fine web journals, such as Exquisite Corpse, MaverickMiranda Literary Magazine and Terrain. Richard’s chapbook is slated for publication this year with Parallel Press. In the meantime, have a look at some of Richard’s photography.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok