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About the Book
In an early poem in his latest collection, The Jane Poems, Ronald Moran recounts how, as a lovestruck young man hoping to catch his chosen girl's eye, he once spent an afternoon "mowing the same / patch of lawn over and over"—shirtless, just in case she should happen by. This awkward "offering of my unrehearsed / goods in early summer" was the prelude to a successful marriage that endured for half a century.
Moran's wife, Jane, passed away in 2009, and The Jane Poems captures, in a poetry that is sometimes wry, sometimes deeply poignant, their difficult final years together and Moran's struggle to cope with her death. He addresses illness, memory, death, and mourning in ways both frank and moving.
The Jane Poems is the fourth installment in a series of poetry collections Ronald Moran has published with CUP. The others are
- Saying These Things (2004)
- The Blurring of Time (2007)
- Waiting (2009)
- The Tree in the Mind (2014)
- Eye of the World (2016)
Your two by three inch picture taken for the church
off a filing cabinet in my den, not because it is
but my cabinet is littered with books, bills, notes—
well, not littered
exactly—but enough so that anyone could let
your frame fall
or slip behind my cabinet and its metallic twin.
is supposed to be next to the one Ray Barfield
took of me in 1988,
ten years before yours, but, together, we seem
alike in years,
if one considers us a pair, yet you are radiant
in a blue halo,
smiling then, as if you had nothing to worry about,
even after you took ill,
knowing you never had any odds to go up against:
a strand of pearls highlighting your long neck,
in a dress
of flowered print. I will remember you like that,
your light plastic frame is cracked and almost as
as both of us in the morning, still finding our way
to each other.
The Language of Holding Up
This is the time they ask, How are you holding up?
Druggist, nurse, pastor, the kid who shovels snow,
and others you may hardly know or recognize,
but they know and they ask, and all you can say,
or are expected to say, is OK. Doing the best I can.
Meanwhile the checkout clerk at the supermarket
asks, How are you today? and you say Fine. And You?
These questions and their abbreviated replies beg
to be interpreted—as in, What does Fine mean?
Or What is OK? Besides a semi-literacy for all right,
however you spell it. All along, whatever the meaning,
faucets drip at slow intervals on a very cold night.