Archive for November 2012

Lay Back the Darkness by Edward Hirsch. A favorite of mine.   1 comment

My father in the night shuffling from room to room
on an obscure mission through the hallway.

Help me, spirits, to penetrate his dream
and ease his restless passage.

Lay back the darkness for a salesman
who could charm everything but the shadows,

an immigrant who stands on the threshold
of a vast night

without his walker or his cane
and cannot remember what he meant to say,

though his right arm is raised, as if in prophecy,
while his left shakes uselessly in warning.

My father in the night shuffling from room to room
is no longer a father or a husband or a son,

but a boy standing on the edge of a forest
listening to the distant cry of wolves,

to wild dogs,
to primitive wingbeats shuddering in the treetops.


Posted November 20, 2012 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

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Failing and Flying by Jack Gilbert. One of my favorite poems.   Leave a comment

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.

It’s the same when love comes to an end,

or the marriage fails and people say

they knew it was a mistake, that everybody

said it would never work.
That she was 
old enough to know better.
But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean

on the other side of the island while

love was fading out of her,
the stars 
burning so extravagantly those nights that

anyone could tell you they would never last.

Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation,
the gentleness in her

like antelope standing in the dawn mist.

Each afternoon I watched her coming back

through the hot stony field after swimming,

the sea light behind her and the huge sky

on the other side of that. Listened to her

while we ate lunch.
How can they say 
the marriage failed? Like the people who

came back from Provence (when it was Provence)

and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.

I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,

but just coming to the end of his triumph.

Warriors   Leave a comment


fierce from birth
we cried and rooted for the bulls-eye nipple
don’t let go or else
Red Rover Red Rover
send someone right over
break through small hands
 squeezed by  wiry fingers
tight around flower petal  phalanges
break and capture are the rules
hearts grow fierce to win  
and when all are captured
when all hold the other’s hand in one line
 on one side
 the war is over
but it never was
never is
Mary Strong Jackson

Posted November 20, 2012 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

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She Carries   Leave a comment

She considers putting down the light,

pulling a blanket of bark over her face

easing into that good night

but she carries on. To carry means to live.

A million eggs she carried in her tiny womb purse,

above her womb, a leather bag of heart she fills, carries.


She lifts with her back, she lifts with her legs, she carries

sums and subtractions. She lifts them to the light

until need and doubt shape and purse

her lips, bag her eyes, and rope the muscles in her face.

Knots on knots to untie, iron, square this life

into the orange-blue sunset on tap for such nights.


She carries the man asleep on the sofa into the night.

She learned young to haul and pull, tote and carry.

It’s what women do, bring others to life,

seek darkness to poke holes where light

finds a way so all know which way to face

for the most sun and what to pack in each day’s purse.


One purse carries every-occasion tools, another purse

tissues of grief. For blood-red styles on cool nights,

she chooses wine with kangaroo bodies and kangaroo faces,

and in her pouch’s darkest caves she carries

White Clay, Nebraska passed out in the light

and Juarez, Mexico’s tiny hands begging to live.


Some days she longs to carry nothing, to live

without the weight of a raindrop on her purse

to live without a purse, carry only a headlight

used to spill a stream of light in the blackest night

but no matter, she would find a snail to carry,

to nurture, to ask if too much light shone in its little face.


If carrying one’s home on the back strains the face,

if a knowing hook for your coat doesn’t make a life,

she considers dropping house and all she carries

taking only what she pours into her purse

sliding away with a small light into the night

leaving all that scurry in her lightbeam.


Her heavy purse spills into the laps of life

bits of living-collages reflect her face, she lowers the light

and draws into the night owning all she carries.

Mary Strong Jackson

October 2012

Posted November 20, 2012 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

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