Still life by Artus Claessens‘Making All Things Orderly’ and Other Poetry by Sally Cook The Society July 20, 2021 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 25 Comments . Making All Things Orderly Stare at grey clapboards in unbroken rows That seem to follow the unceasing sound Of thrumming traffic, with no vibrant red Or swaying leaves to soften sunlight’s blows. Poems of air and chlorophyll’s repose Have gone; the smallest traces can’t be found; Destroyed, as some fool’s sense of order fed On massacre of hollyhock and rose. For you and I know there are always those Who come to slash and dig and curse the ground Where fantasy has bloomed, and plant instead Their awful dragon’s teeth. And I suppose What grows from them is vigilant, and toes Its dull unthinking line, but pound for pound Cannot compare to one small flower bed Of buds, rough stalks, and silken furbelows. . . Wood Sprite In memoriam “Saints Rest” Grace, Victorian harridan that she was, Served out some sherry for a little buzz. A votre santé was her toast of choice, And I, before I’d found my style and voice, Delighted in her dim pink walls and candles Stuck into bottles, jardinières with handles; Some in bronze sconces flickered, while paté Was served; I thrilled at velvet, and the way Her hair kept falling down, electric, red— I can’t accept such spirit now lies dead. As candles wane, the lovely scent retreats, And with it, glamour, canapés. Defeats Now strike me daily—sometimes I say “Ouch!” Or, quoting her, go “to my downy couch,” For all the style that I have gained since then This laughing saint engendered in her den. . . Elegy for a Man of the Arts for Tony Decorse He talked too much, repeating tales twice told— And wouldn’t leave, though welcome was long past. Eccentric in his youth, he had grown old— We thought that we were rid of him at last, This man who had annoyed us all for years Left recently, to look for better ways To lift his spirit. Do not let your tears Bind him in place, or dampen this new phase. His ghost remains, a weight upon our minds. In dreams, I’m shamed to hear our laughter still, And every pearl I make from sand reminds Me of that one who irritated, till Self-serving grains of sand formed pearls for us. Purpose fulfilled, he went without a fuss. from TRINACRIA . . An Education One fractured hillside, houses spilling down Both sides, in two irregular white rows Into the center of the little town, Where sidewalks lined two-storied shops where we Bought trifles, cheap perfume, a pink nightgown For someone’s mother, shiny rayon, throws For baby showers, made of eiderdown, Tin toys and teddy bears. Eternity Is filled, I think, with all the junk we bought; The gifts for friends and teachers. Every song Saved up till we could buy a single sheet Of music for it, verse and words, complete, To carol out the windows of our homes, Much sharper and more sweet than dusty tomes. . . 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 TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. NOTE TO POETS: 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 email@example.com. 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. CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 25 Responses Michael Dashiell July 20, 2021 I’m pleased with your poetry that formal verse isn’t necessarily old-fashioned. You’ve taken it to the next frontier. I wish other free verse magazines would recognize this. Reply Sally Cook July 21, 2021 Dear Michael, This is one of the most important points one can make in contemporary poetry; especially in the realm of free verse, Yet we do not see it deiscussed. Why? Because free verse is “woke”, and Alice just won’t discuss it — so there! Thanks for raising a crucial issue.. Reply Margaret Coats July 20, 2021 Sally, “Making All Things Orderly” is a wonderful poem about “the ground where fantasy has bloomed”! I think of the house where I grew up. When we moved there, the “poems of air and chlorophyll’s repose” were indeed gone from the entire neighborhood, but the builders had supplied a tiny planter box in each yard. My father looked into ours and found a cement base with not a scoop of soil. He decided that eventually he would bring some dirt there, suited for my mother’s most intensive-care flowers, but first he made a trip back to the shady town we had moved from, asked for cuttings, and dug up some likely seedlings in overgrown vacant lots. Someone gave him a tub with a fast-growing item that became a children’s climbing tree in the middle of the new back yard. He was a fantasy planter. Ultimately he had dozens of trees and flowering bushes on one little lot, and a collection of orchids trailing down from the limbs of the earliest-planted trees. They were the “silken furbelows” that completed his work the way those words so beautifully and surprisingly complete this poem of yours. The other three poems here seem to tell of different ways that nature’s own order grows and flourishes. Good group! Reply Sally Cook July 21, 2021 Dear Margaret — I love the way you think – swift and to the point ! You had, I think, the best of fathers, proving yet again the need for a father in the home. He must have been very like mine, who would study where the sun fell, and plant there. In this way he was able to make a single flower flourish in a small spot in a wooded area. I like to think I might be one that he planted in that way. Reply Paul Freeman July 20, 2021 You encourage me to write character sketches in sonnet form, and as Michael says, to jazz them up for today’s audiences. Thanks for some extraordinary reads. Reply Sally Cook July 21, 2021 Dear Paul – Glad to know I was able to offer encouragement ! Please let us see some of these very soon. Reply lionel willis July 20, 2021 Your work is a pleasure to read, Sally. Thank you for the time and thought they took. Reply Sally Cook July 21, 2021 Dear Lionel — Thank you for letting me know of your enjoyment ! As to time and effort, well — one only gets back what one is willing to put into a creative effort. Ever notice how effortless the great musical performances are? How many ever think of the countless hours of practice that have gone before” Reply Brian Yapko July 20, 2021 Each one of these poems is a masterful delight full of keen observation, vivid imagery and gorgeous language. Truly a joy to read! Reply Sally Cook July 21, 2021 That’s high praise coming from one as accomplished as you. Such a response makes it all worthwhile. Dare I say we speak the same language? Reply Jeff Eardley July 20, 2021 Sally, from England, great to read these. You are a very talented poet. Thank you so much. Reply Sally Cook July 21, 2021 Dear Jeff — You are very kind. More than that, you have enjoyed the poems. The Shakesperean sonnet is my favorite form, and I have lots of English, Irish and Welsh antecedents, so it is probably in my bloodstream. Additionally, I’m very proud to say I am a legitimate descendant of the Lord of Limerick. So thanks, cuz, for the compliment ~ Reply Joe Tess (itore) July 20, 2021 What a beautiful voice you have, Sally – totally unique and so atmospheric! Reply Sally Cook July 21, 2021 What a lovely compliment ! Is that you my friend Joe Tessitore? Or is there someone on the site called Joe Tess? Perhaps you were typing and got tired? In any case, I’m glad to hear from you! And what a lovely compliment. Never mind – whomever, I thank you for your encouraging words. I try to let my ideas flow from the painterly to the written word, and back again. Reply Joe Tessitore July 21, 2021 Don’t know what happened there – Joe Tessitore. Susan Jarvis Bryant July 20, 2021 Sally, this superb set of poems seduces the senses and paints linguistic images so vivid and vibrant this reader breathes in the wonder of each descriptive stanza. I also like the musicality of the language. Lines such as; “… Tin toys and teddy bears. Eternity / Is filled, I think, with all the junk we bought…”. I love them all, but my favorite is “An Education” – it’s exquisite. Thank you, my friend. Your words never fail to inspire me. Reply Sally Cook July 21, 2021 Different as our work is, we share the same attitudes and goals. Know that I appreciate and deeply value our exchange of ideas. The way things are today, this is a rare thing. Reply C.B. Anderson July 20, 2021 These were especially nice, Sally. There were moments when you seemed to flirt with darkness, but the dirt you work with always comes up flowers. Reply Sally Cook July 21, 2021 Dear CB — So glad you enjoyed the poems ! I do not flirt with dirt; would not even though it makes a rhyme. It is the flowers that flirt, and they with earth, in the most positivc way.. Reply C.B. Anderson July 22, 2021 I only meant, Sally, that you get right down to the nitty gritty of our lives in this world. Julian D. Woodruff July 20, 2021 Ms. Cook, Thanks for all 4 of these. They’re all very fine. “Education” is almost like the summary of a memoire, almost like the most lyrical of prose passages, so natural is the flow, the vocabulary, and the ease of the phrasing. Reply Joseph S. Salemi July 21, 2021 The use of enjambment in these poems is expert and fluent. Cook maintains a controlled rhyme scheme while making the tone of each poem conversational, and idiomatic. Reply Sally Cook July 21, 2021 Dear Dr. Salemi — I do try hard, but it would be much more difficult without your sagacity. Thanks for everything. Reply David Watt July 23, 2021 Sally, your three poems have the attraction of providing us with much more than mere glimpses of your recollections. Thanks for sharing these with us. Reply Sally Cook July 23, 2021 Thank you, David, for looking below the surface. Everyithing has levels; especially art of any kind; you know this– and looked. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Δ This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.