Marching On Paradise
Longman Cheshire Modern Poets, 75 pp, $7.75 pb
Peter Steele is a meditative poet with a gift for aphorism: joy / has more of gravity than of gaiety’; ‘You cannot find / your way, but it is finding you’. And of God he saysZ: ‘I’m lost for words except for those to ask / He’ll look my way and make me see it his.’
The taste for aphorism is matched by a taste for formal verse. Steele is fond of the iambic pentameter (as I am), of the villanelle, of complex stanzas, and in this book he revives the ballade with distinction. At the same time, he writes a good many reflective poems in long unrhymed lines of alternately six and five stresses and running to two or three pages.