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Poems by Jessie Cowan

Mansion City

Mine is a mansion city.
The curtains billow all around me
And become my mother's favorite lavender.
The clouds are silk-clad like Edwardian drawing-rooms
And the Brownstone and beige of the buildings
Came from the finest Persian looms.

Mine is a mountainous city
And wild with hawks,
Plucked and released into my own home.
The cognoscenti say this was the best way;
There are plumpy pigeons to gorge upon and
No thugs to cut their saved lives short.
So now they swoop and loft outside my perch
And I can dream to be one.

Mine is an Autumn city
And the inhabitants are leaves blowing
In circles of both confusion and inspired purpose.
The apple crisp attitude shows clearer now and I adore its bite.
This is the kind of place and time that yields a crunch of life
And urges me to rise and do and say and be.


Like a fan
or the proud of a peacock's tail
the small boat cut through
the pearly river that once was the sky
to the flocks. Even now the clouds
drift in the too blue sky below,
undisturbed, but a century ago
it was the reason so many came.

In the morning while we all eat, there is a smaller bead,
a pursing slash of red yesterday and this day yellow.
"Kayak, again," someone said. "How brave." I thought.
"How active, letting Hudson buoy him with his fatherly shoulders." My eye follows him long after the others'
have returned to their plates and wishes to be in that kernel and away.
Away upstream in the arms of my long-time friend. Up to the bridge and past
to away.


"I only rent the day Colossus fell."
And you before me shake your head and say,
"You're far too young to know to tell."

On time and age I moan and dwell;
This hour on Earth is short to pay.
I only rent the day Colossus fell.

And you know much and know it well
And teach me with a sad sashay:
"You're far too young to know, to tell."

Then I'll grow old and like a shell
reverberate with mem'ries gay.
I only rent the day Colossus fell.

Alone and done, the twilight knell
Will take me back to you, this day.
"You're far too young to know, to tell."

No, I can see that love's safe spell
Is the just thing that pushes time away.
I only rent the day Colossus fell.
"You're far too young to know, to tell."

Doggerelly Thank You Note

The gifts you give are given in love;
I couldn't dream of better.
I'm happy to the stars above and thought I'd write this letter.

My shirt and cap are beautiful;
The check's a welcome giftie.
And none of this was dutiful;
All came from hearts so nifty.

My mattress pads will make the bed
A lovely place to sleep in.
The books will heighten all my thoughts -
(The ones I'm always deep in.)

The counter and the coins alike
Enhance both purse and pocket,
And if there is no transit strike
As traveler I will rocket.

And best of all, the owlet, dear
Will make my home so pleasant;
And owls, I know, keep wise good cheer.
I'm glad he's not a pheasant.

But dinner with my folks tonight
did beat imagination.
Each mouthful was a sheer delight
and prompted mastication.

I love you both so very much;
In this I never waver.
A father's glance, a mother's touch
Make birthdays I will savor.

O Muse, Muse

O limp Olympian, O rise!
I dreamed we're the team for the poetry prize,
With the judges eyes in a wild surmise!
"You kidding, kid? Try mild surprise.

"If you gotta take a shot at the poetry dodge,
Beam reams of rhyme at (something titty pom)-odge.
Seen flights more fine than (vital image)
E'en Marlowe's Mighty Line. Of scrimmage. (?)

"Rhythm is when it goes pom titty pom.
Don't pity pom titty pom. It's dumb,
But the rule of thumb says a pendu-lum
Swings, and fewer people will think, 'Pish, that's not a poem.'

"Metaphor's better for symbol than simile:
the 'terrible moonlight' of Our Town's Emily,
Lonely teen, lunally tuned,
Planetary wary, terra firma marooned.

"Bards worked hard 'till '33
And Empson's Ambiguity.
Now words should waffle and metamorphose
Or they're liable to be labled prose."
Here goes:

(Stick around, old girl. If I get stuck,
I'll twirl thy golden curl for luck.)

Have I hugged thee, Muse, today?
Bugged thee 'till thou'd say thou'd stay?
Verse nurse, word masseuse,
Modest goddess? Eheu! La Meuse!

(One done, dost thou like it, Muse?
"Take a hike, son. I'll take the snooze.")

I trudge away from soul's torment.
Begrudge the day my Olds got dent,
And xxx

I am iambic pentameter Sam,
One foot longer than my Gram,
So when xxxxxxxxx

Blankety blank blank verse is so unfair:
Twenty percent more feet from here to there!
When I consider how my night is spent,
I wot it's not the meter, it's the pent.

(Ignition short!
Abort! Abort!)

dog gutters slushly
seventeen clouds drip haiku
gradual clearing

Un-dead, interred in bed,
Out of pills to still my head.
Rhymes for titty-pom omnia
embalm me in insomnia.

Heard The Word in the sound of a one-hand clap!
Found The Sound in the words of a playground rap!
When The Sound raps the dream around the hoops in the 'hood,
Zen The Hand claps the team along The Way To The Good.

(Poetic as heck,
But I better checkk.)

Bon Mots, non?
"No show, bro',
No fire in the belly
No Sheets and Kelly.
And mend your Zen or, friend, I'll flee ya:
I no want to see another onomatopoeia."

Ah, so,
I fry too row?
No likee,

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Biographical sketch: Life is short - make the right decisions and be kind.

Jessie Cowan recommends:

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Reason: It describes, in the simplist and most beautiful of terms, every essence of life.

Recommendations for writers:

use spell check - always!


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