Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Richard Baldwin Cook

John G Feller, young citizen and vet
Of 1812, then his homestead he'd fix, 
In Shenandoah, but John G'd not get
A land grant like the vets of '76.

Not social, yet a joiner was John G, 
In iron works, scattered in the Valley round.
Formed wood molds for hot iron poured carefully.
Such toil for food and shelter, John G found.

G after John may not a lone G be.
Gefeller got quick shortened by the clerk.
No matter how recalled in history.
John recalled down his line for clever work.

Drawn South, German colonials in PA,
They're found in Shenandoah to this day. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ripped Messiah

Ripped Messiah

Easter reminds us we will stand again
Anastasia - dance card of the young
We wrinkled can’t relate or recall when
with brawn we pulled up from the bottom rung

Enough we don’t fall down. Now take your pills.
Live it all again? No fond desire.
What if the crucified on Calvary’s Hill
An old dude, carpenter ‘fore gospel fire

Made him shake his cane at those righteous swells
they killed him, leaving grandma, sad grandkids
weeping at his cross. Would sedate church bells
salute codger-messiah on the skids?

The Savior of the World he best be ripped
with tats, tall mohawk, ring in those big lips.

Copyright 2014 / Richard Baldwin Cook


Occasional Poems
Richard Baldwin Cook
(Nativa, LLC, 2014)
Available at lulu.com

and elsewhere

Saturday, April 19, 2014

An Easter poem by the Master

Sunday Morning
Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)


Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
[ . . . ]
The day is like wide water, without sound,
Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet
Over the seas, to silent Palestine,
Dominion of the blood and sepulchre.


[ . . . ]
What is divinity if it can come
Only in silent shadows and in dreams?
[ . . . ]
Divinity must live within herself:
Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;
All pleasures and all pains, remembering
The bough of summer and the winter branch.
These are the measure destined for her soul.

[ . . . ]


Is there no change of death in paradise?
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky,
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?
[ . . . ]
Death is the mother of beauty, mystical,
Within whose burning bosom we devise
Our earthly mothers waiting, sleeplessly.

The  complete poem:


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Poetry - "a bridge between separated souls"

April 17 - birthday of Irish poet Brendan Kennelly (1936) who said:

"Poetry is, above all, a singing art of natural and magical connection because, though it is born out of one's person's solitude, it has the ability to reach out and touch in a humane and warmly illuminating way the solitude, even the loneliness, of others. That is why, to me, poetry is one of the most vital treasures that humanity possesses; it is a bridge between separated souls."


Writer's Almanac, April 17, 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Emerson said of Shakespeare, no, of us: " . . . each reader is incredulous of the perception of other readers."

What Emerson said (in Representative Man) about Shakespeare:

"Shakespeare is as much out of the category of eminent authors, as he is out of the crowd. He is inconceivably wise; the others, conceivably. A good reader can, in a sort, nestle into Plato's brain, and think from thence, but not into Shakespeare's. We are still out of doors. For executive faculty, for creation, Shakespeare is unique. No man can imagine it better. He was the farthest reach of subtlety compatible with an individual self,--the subtilest of authors, and only just within the possibility of authorship. With this wisdom of life, is the equal endowment of imaginative and of lyric power. He clothed the creatures of his legend with form and sentiments, as if they were people who had lived under his roof; and few real men have left such distinct characters as these fictions. And they spoke in language as sweet as it was fit. Yet his talents never seduced him into an ostentation, nor did he harp on one string. An omnipresent humanity coordinates all his faculties. Give a man of talents a story to tell, and his partiality will presently appear. He has certain observations, opinions, topics, which have some accidental prominence, and which he disposes all to exhibit. He crams this part, and starves that other part, consulting not the fitness of the thing, but his fitness and strength. But Shakespeare has no peculiarity, no importunate topic; but all is duly given; no veins, no curiosities; no cow-painter, no bird-fancier, no mannerist is he: he has no discoverable egotism: the great he tells greatly; the small, subordinately. He is wise without emphasis or assertion; he is strong, as nature is strong, who lifts the land into mountain slopes without effort, and by the same rule as she floats a bubble in the air, and likes as well to do the one as the other. This makes that equality of power in farce, tragedy, narrative, and love-songs; a merit so incessant, that each reader is incredulous of the perception of other readers."

Source for the Quote:

"They have the numbers; we, the heights" Harold Bloom, in the Boston Review

Photo Credit: 

Woodpie blog

"I'm two eyes looking out of a suit of armor." May Swenson

May 28 - Birthday of May Swenson (1913)

The daughter of Mormon converts and Swedish immigrants to the US, May was a lesbian and, at age 13, questioned the faith of her parents.

May wrote:

"I'm two eyes looking out of a suit of armor. I write because I can't talk."


"Not to need illusion—to dare to see and say how things really are, is the emancipation I would like to attain."

Poemhunter.com - May Swenson (May 28, 1913 – December 4, 1989 / Utah)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

"The Cry of the Horse-drawn Carts" - "El Llanto de las Carretas" - by Miguel Ángel Espino

On April 21, 2013 en San Salvador, I discovered the work of Miguel Ángel Espino. Wow! Here is a bit from a typically short essay, "The Cry of the Horse-drawn Carts" - which you will get if you read it aloud:

- The horse-drawn carts are coming. Along the distant dust- and moon-filled path, getting closer, sounding a complaint, the endless cry of these carts.

- The cry of the carts is a sweet ‘ E ’ held long. An ‘ E ’ cried out lovingly. A single ‘ E ’


La semana pasada en San Salvador, me encontré por primera vez la obra de Miguel Ángel Espino. 

Wow! Aqui un pedacito de un ensayo, típicamente breve, "El Llanto de las Carretas" - que te pega cuando lo leyas en voz alta:

“Ya vienen las carretas. Más allá del sendero lleno de polvo y luna se va acercando como una queja el llanto interminable de las carretas.

“El llanto de la carreta es una i dulce y larga. Una i llorada con amor. Una i.”