Author Archives: Cynthia Jobin

NIGHT DRAWS NEAR, BROTHER ASS

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Night draws near, brother ass
pale sister moon ascends the dark

brother wind makes a chill pass
from long ago and far away
where Francis dogs still bark—

they echo sorry old beliefs
that make you lesser than
a thing that’s called a soul.

As if some merciless sneak thief
has stripped you of your rigmarole

stolen all your oomph for dreams
of grasping the elusive carrot
and your fear of prodding stick

you slow a bit now, and seem weary
though you stubbornly as ever climb
the slope of each day, brick by brick.

You’ve been a good and faithful
servant— more than I can say

for parts that think and speak.
Yours is an understanding deeper
than all hope and pray. Are we perhaps

at last in sempiternal unison about
the moment that must come?  Then
let’s together bray..and bray…and bray!
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night-draws-near-brother-ass

NORTH, EARLY DECEMBER

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Let me down easy

the way hints of winter
fall exquisitely today
scattering icy lacy flowers
from a cloud bouquet

flutter, waver just a bit
unhurried and unworried
to get on with it.

A deeper cold will come
but stay its harder hand
let play a little longer
the november grey indefinites

let me down easy.

The longest night is still ahead
weighs heavy in the apprehension
threatening dismay

let me go haltingly into its
frozen moonlit desolation
tempered by the touch of
something of its opposite

knowing I am anyway
to be let down, I pray

let me down easy.
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NORTH, EARLY DECEMBER

I have recently been diagnosed with cancer—metastasized, terminal. Since I am not writing any new poems at the moment, this one, posted last year as the month of December was beginning, seemed even more appropriate now.

TURKEY

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Many readers will recognize this poem as one I have—almost traditionally now—published in November around the time of the American holiday of Thanksgiving. This year it will also appear in the fall issue of THE LYRIC, the oldest magazine in North America in continuous publication of traditional poetry since 1921.
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The turkey is a curious bird
And there’s a tale quite often heard
Of how this hapless, weak birdbrain
Looks up, agape, and drowns in rain.
But that is really just a myth
To entertain the gullible with.

In fact his monofocal eye
Must look sideways at the sky
Not up…and he might as easily drown
In puddles, failing to look down.
Poor thing can’t fly, can barely walk,
And gobble-gobble is his talk.

The ostentation of his tail
And puffed-out chest will surely fail
To keep him swaggeringly proud
If there’s a noise, and it is loud.
Then he is spooked, suddenly tense
And runs to cower by the fence.

American fowl of colonial fame
That Benjamin Franklin wanted to name
Federal symbol, national bird—
Turkey? Ridiculous! Turkey? Absurd!
Yet, in a way, it has almost come true–
Not on The Seal, but on the menu.

When Thanksgiving comes, it’s almost a law
Though steak lovers groan and vegans say “pshaw!”
That turkey be served as pre-eminent meat
Above the plenty of plenty to eat.
Crackling, drumstick, breast and wing
This one day a year, turkey is king.
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copyright Cynthia Jobin 2014
TURKEY


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NOTE TO REGULAR READERS: For health reasons I may not be able to keep to my customary schedule of posting….playing it by ear, henceforth, rather than by the book.

MORE’S THE PITY

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The sheep have flocked to the water’s edge
and now they weep
not knowing how to swim.

Above them in the usual skies, a crow
caws mockingly:
Fools! You were herded here by lies!

But now the sheep have come to love
the melodrama of
their bleating cries. Don’t judge, wallow

in the comfort of a group-think nudge.
Sheep will be sheep—
still, it’s hard to sympathize.
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mores-the-pity

FRIENDS

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Once again I offer a guest poet. This is an antediluvian poem, that is, it was written long before the flood, or current deluge, of cyber emotion and virtual living and received opinion that threatens to drown us all.

From William Stafford:
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How far friends are! They forget you,
most days. They have to, I know; but still,
it’s lonely just being far and a friend.
I put my hand out—this chair, this table—
So near: touch, that’s how to live.
Call up a friend? All right, but the phone
itself is what loves you, warm on your ear,
on your hand. Or, you lift a pen
to write—it’s not that far person
but this familiar pen that comforts.
Near things: Friend, here’s my hand.
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THE TRIBES ARE WONDERING

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Maybe in their bones or late-night thoughts
the leaders wonder how it ends,
how it began, how one can answer
to and fro the dark. Maybe

the wondering is very small,
a moment between this and that,
stopped in a window just above the sink.
Summer shivers. Snowball disappears in snow.

Who is leader, really, who is led?
A wonderment, though no one lets another
know he doesn’t know.
Puffed chests and roasted turkeys

to grandmother’s house we go.
The motions are protected by a blanket
covering a blank. The young are puzzled
as to why, or who to thank.
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the-tribes-are-wondering
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copyright Cynthia Jobin, 2014

THE TRICK OF TREATS

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Beware the trick of treats, my little one,
of sugary ideals, of endless halcyon

as you go forth this hallowed eventide
your begging pleasure bag held open wide

go not oblivious, bewitched into oblivion.

Candy corn spits from a saw-toothed gun
marshmallow ghosts devour a skeleton

behind your mask’s deceit remain clear-eyed:
beware the trick of treats.

This world’s a mixing bowl of bleak and fun
of up and down, of swapping rain and sun

two one-eyed tadpoles circling inside
give a close chase that’s never satisfied

and bitters dwell with sweets, my little one,
beware the trick of treats.
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the-trick-of-treats

NOW IS THE FALL

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Lenders continue to love their usurious way of falling
while grubbers hover above a penurious way of falling.

An ill wind blows at the lady’s presumptive tiara;
how it cackles upon her perjurious way of falling.

“I laid me down with a will,” R. L. Stevenson wrote;
Dylan Thomas raved a fume-furious way of falling.

A comedown is sometimes called a comeuppance but
my tuppence deems that a spurious way of falling.

A warning to those who topple off ladders: bracing
to save yourself is a most injurious way of falling.

When fish die, they turn upside-down and rise
in the water; this is their curious way of falling.

I dream I leap into heaped colors of newfallen leaves
fingers crossed for a windup luxurious way of falling.
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now-is-the-fall

CONVERSATION WITH A CREEK

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I will slap your face
I said
and the water said
go right ahead.

I’ll beat you with a stick
I said
and the water said
go right ahead.

I will stomp on you
I said
and the water said
go right ahead.

I’ll cut you with my knife
I said
and the water said
go right ahead.

I will nail you in a box
I said
and the water said
go right ahead

as it glittered
in a zillion squints
of dancing glints
along its pebbly bed.

I may be daft
but that was when
I think I heard
the water laugh.
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conversation-with-a-creek

A CERTAIN AGE

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“Colors are the deeds and sufferings of light.”
—Goethe

It has been said the weather is bright blue
this time of year.  A tinge of cobalt cools
the contours, copper trembles, sounding true.
Red and golden maple leaves, the motley fools,
die dancing on a breeze of nevermore.
Those who must learn go back to schools.

The year was started long before
this current, nearer to the final, page
of curling calendar behind the closet door;
yet blood, air, the purple-kissed greengage
belie that paper rubric and bestir unnerving
promise in what’s more than come of age.

Cliché favors youth, the tight uncurving
blade of spring, bronze beauty at the beach,
the summer’s salad days all undeserving.
And youth favors cliché, believing each
grey hint of winter is a closing down,
smug in its grasp of things beyond its reach.

We’ve been there.  Now we’re here, my frown,
searching a spattered mirror for small clues
to an unsettling ripening.  We grope for nouns
to name it—for the way so many hues
exquisitely become a potent reticence of brown.
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A CERTAIN AGE