note from the author: I have written two books under the name Blake Townsend Romanov, which I consider literary soul-mates, Pare My Heart and Draw Me A Spirit, both specializing in an imperfect attempt at meter and or form, mainly Shakespearean Sonnets, also some Petrarchian as well as Villanelles and finally a number of Limericks in addition to metrical or rhyming poems of unnamed form. I say that the meter is imperfect, but also that meter is often imperfect by nature as for instance in the question of whether The Nile and Denial have the same number of syllables though certainly they rhyme. I have taken advantage of these equivocal moments of rhyme and meter to befuddle my critics, flattering myself that such people exist. There may be actual mistakes of course for which I can’t account. I would like to give some further explanations of the books the author and the muses. My first admission will be that my pseudonym is silly and takes up space in syllables. However my own real name is equally silly and has always felt to be a tall shadow or a funhouse mirror simultaneously enticing me with a pompous view of myself and enabling moments of bruising disappointment. As for the name I chose, Towsend because it is the name outsiders, Romanov because it is the name of tragedy, excess and passion, and Blake because it means to both light and dark, but not an amalgam as in gray, but light here and dark there as in chiaroscuro. Sheen upon a lake at night is an example of blake. Thus it is the color of both balance and conflict. It also a first name which women finds sexy (if not overdone); the sometimes squeamishly received adjective is of no small value. Neither the author nor the muses, Maggie Burnes and Emily Gray are to be taken as real, nor are the very facts of the stories these books tell meant to be scrutinized, but rather, imagined. As for my own beliefs which are often left to the reader, allow me to admit that I am Unitarian by faith, meaning that I believe in God without authoritative revealed religion placing demands on how I characterize his or her spirit. I am Unitarian of the Romantic, Transcendentalist bent and I believe that God’s Spirit is most present in moments of spontaneity inspiration or originality rather than in the retaining of laws, rules or protocol. I have more than dabbled in its antecedent religion, Christianity, and have come to hold in high esteem the story and teaching of Jesus as a representation of God’s nature. I do not reject revealed religion but would rather have held even the most intoxicated prophecy to the same scrutiny as any work of natural religion (philosophy). I have also taken some interest in Zen and the Tao which you may notice in my writing. I am no master of anything but rather an inspired dilettante, in short a poet. Enjoy my poems.