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  • By Gary Inbinder

Et in Arcadia Ego


Here we lie in our bed of stone beneath a mild sky. Nicely tucked in. You and I. Did we go peacefully beneath the azure sky? Perhaps. But don’t ask why cruel Atropos snipped our cord of life.

Once wedded to an illusion, now forever parted, abandoned in this bed of stone beneath a cloud-stippled sky, our beginning is our end. We are like the worm that swallowed its tail.

Therefore, let us not pretend that our fondest hopes prevail over what is predestined. We who are dead lie forever embedded in stone beneath this mild sky. Et in Arcadia ego. No one knows why.


Gary Inbinder is a retired attorney who left the practice of law to write full-time. His fiction, articles and essays have appeared in Bewildering Stories, Halfway Down the Stairs, The Absent Willow Review, Morpheus Tales, Touchstone Magazine and other publications. Gary is a member of The Historical Novel Society and Mystery Writers of America. He is also a member of the Bewildering Stories Editorial Review Board. His Inspector Lefebvre series is published by Pegasus Books.

7 Comments


David Gosselin
David Gosselin
Jan 26, 2023

There is an enigmatic quality to this poem that keeps one coming back, if only to re-experience its mystery, and the many ensuing reflections and ruminations.


I look forward to more of these finely-woven mysteries.

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Guest
Jan 19, 2023

Thanks to all for your kind comments about my poem. As for my former profession, we all know the line from Shakespeare's Henry VI: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."


I have two defenses. First, the source of the quote, Dick the Butcher, was a nasty thug and hardly credible. Second, I haven't practiced in years. 😉


Best regards,


Gary Inbinder

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Unknown member
Jan 19, 2023

Utterly classical Yet utterly contemporary.

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stewart.burke
Feb 01, 2023
Replying to

A perfect summation, to use a lawyerly term!

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ajsedia
Jan 18, 2023

The theme of the title was a favorite of the British decadents like Wilde and Waugh, so I immediately saw the risk of falling into cliche. But my fears were groundless. This is a surprisingly fresh poem with a languid, elusive tone and a narrative voice with inner tension and personality. I also liked the irregular rhyme scheme, which added a sense of structure -- but not too much.


(As an aside, I'm always excited and just as often impressed when I read poems by fellow attorneys. I believe in a good percentage of us there's a would-be literature professor screaming to get out.)

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martinmccarthy1956
martinmccarthy1956
Jan 19, 2023
Replying to

You are right Adam about this being a fine poem, and I love the little touches of Eliot in lines 13 and 18. You are right also in suggesting that people have perhaps multiple unused selves. Now I know of two attorneys who write poetry very well. Early retirement is often a good choice, which, to invert Gary's line, can make our 'end' our true beginning. I did it myself.

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