Blue Star

Mama painted calm and clouded landscapes
Before she wed, blue-green and grassy shapes,
But these went by the board just after she
Jumped off into the matrimonial sea.

Later, Bach rocked the house and Chopin too,
For as we grew up, that was what she’d do,
Bringing us through each illness, helping heal
With steady beat of fugue and bell-like peal.
The gathering storm of every polonaise
Cleared out the cloistered sick room’s turgid haze.

Her music stays, surrounding me, and when
It melds itself to where I once had been,
I see a landscape blue-lit from a star
Illuminating memory from afar.



Fine snow enfolds the smallish town,
Veiling the walks, and leaves no trace
Of concrete, while its icy down
Crafts rounded shapes with gentle grace.

Consider that it might be good
For snow to come in summer’s glare
To soften all the brittle wood,
Decaying leaves; to veil despair
Which knows no season and no hour,
But rampant runs dark streets by night
As, one by one, fresh starts go sour.
And none can think to put them right.

Snow always veils sharp narrow spaces,
Makes lovely the forsaken places.


Drowning the Dresses

After the suicide of his lover Constance Woolson, Henry James tried to assuage his grief by drowning her garments in the Grand Canal of Venice.

Fearing in grief that he might be banal,
He led her wardrobe items to their slaughter,
Tossing them in a dank Venice canal
Where they swirled round and bobbed upon the water.

Some petticoats resisted his attempt.
The well-made dresses distraught Henry James
Flung in refused to sink, and showed contempt
For all his silly faux-Romantic games.

Poor Henry whacked at stuffing, buttons, bone,
Yet failed to drown a lace-and-buckram sail,
While taffeta retained its stylish tone
Floating on billowed platforms of percale.

A pointless, futile gesture, and it shows
He could not sink his memories with her clothes.


Talking To Thieves

Oh, Woodchuck, do not munch the parsley —
It’s tender, and is growing sparsely.
First cousin to a germ-filled measle,
Leave off the basil, you fat weasel.
Oregano, where did your leaves go?
Only furry knaves and thieves know.

Surveying stalks of harried chive,
I’m stunned to find some still alive.
Must I go on? When I observe
The weakened state of each fine herb,
Mourning the mangled leaves of lettuce,
I question where this talk will get us.


All of the above poems were originally published in TRINACRIA

A former Wilbur Fellow and six-time Pushcart nominee, Sally Cook is a regular contributor to National Review, and has appeared in venues as varied as Chronicles, Lighten Up On Line, and TRINACRIA. Also a painter, her present works in the style known as Magic Realism are represented in national collections such as the N.S.D.A.R. Museum in Washington, D.C. and The Burchfield-Penney, Buffalo, NY.

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5 Responses

  1. David Hollywood

    I am very taken by the observational and illustrative skills in each poem and found myself affected by the need to be in the moment with them rather than reflective of the themes. Marvelous.

  2. Dona Fox

    What wonderful poetry! Thank you, Sally Cook, I’ll be reading those many times and looking for more. (And thanks to The Society for bringing these to my attention, now where do I renew my membership?)

  3. David Watt

    Thanks Sally Cook for your captivating poetry! The settings are well illustrated in each, and as effective poetry does, makes me believe I am there as an observer.


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