Poem for a Birthday

Say that the year is round, and on its top
March lighted candles in concentric rows.
They drip their wax, which hardens on the heart
As birthdays pass, and most of us suppose

That all we ask is just some time to stop,
Regroup, remit the past, revere a rose.
A natal day is just the place you start
To win or lose, to plow through winter snows.

Over the curve the candles move, then drop
Down, as the winds of time bring to a close
Each sturdy, hopeful wish within the heart.
More light recedes, and all our wisdom grows.


Celebration of the Past

A moment in the sweetness of the night
When partners waltzed upon a wide verandah,
To scratchy records played. Soft evening light
Made silhouettes of swaying figures, as a
Calm air enveloped towering, rustling trees,
Which offered landing space to birds who, resting
Watched over dancers circling there with ease;
While certainty surrounded, manifesting.


A Cat

A cat is soft, his whiskers stand
Like saplings on uneven land,
Where two large furred and tented ears —
Those vehicles through which he hears –
Triangular in shape, are pitched,
Though often he seems quite bewitched
By things that we don’t know we say,
Which he interprets every day.

His long, striped sweater ends in paws
That hold a set of ivory claws
Designed to slash, although he won’t
Unsheathe these weapons, if I don’t
Disturb his rest. To no avail
Do I find reasons for his tail.


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.

NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to mbryant@classicalpoets.org. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here.

6 Responses

  1. Father Richard Libby

    To my fellow contest-winner: congratulations on these well done poems!

  2. James Sale

    Beautiful poems. The last line of ‘More light recedes, and all our wisdom grows.’ has a haunting quality and a certain pathos too. And as for the cat poem, well, that made me laugh out loud: yes, that is a cat!

    • Sally Cook

      So glad you laughed at the “Cat Tale.” So often people forget that there is humor in some poems, and that it is ok to laugh when you see it. Thanks also for your appreciation of my work.

  3. David Watt

    Your description of the cat is enjoyable to read, both for its accuracy and clever construction. “Poem for a Birthday” beautifully describes a birthday using the appropriate medium of a cake. Food for thought indeed!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.