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  • By Carey Jobe

The Desktop Muse & Other Poetry

The Desktop Muse

The dealer droned on despite my frown,

then I noticed her, hunched and gravel, kept

on a cluttered shop floor long unswept,

Greek beauty callously marked down.

Suffering divinity looked on me then.

Her iced eyes thawed to sparkling when

I cleansed her brow with religious care

and placed her to reign on my desktop. There

her sunlit face shines coldly bright,

a Mona Lisa in sculpted white,

but under a cloud-crossed moon by night

she dances in waves of milky light,

lunar passions her morning features hide.

Yet the smile dawning over my midnight phrase!

As if love for a mind still trapped inside

devolves like grace on one who prays.

Little Lesson

To be restricted, yet unbound,

our tutors are the trees:

their rooted stature plows the sky

and drinks a water breeze

that blows unseen through darkened clays

till it extracts a leaf

from that rich matrix, like a joy

spun patiently from grief.

Green tides sweep onward, grove on grove,

as twinkling star greets star,

like minds that till the local soil

to guess what planets are.

Parable of Shadow and Sun

It was a country of shadows piled

deep as snowdrifts, shadow on shadow,

whose people, darkened, obstinate,

talked incessantly of Sun.

“The Sun, if we could see the Sun!”

they cried, walking their flowerless gardens.

They cried, they wished. Sun never came.

Night lingered, intimate, familiar.

…Then a pink rumor swept the talk.

Windows raised, faces stared amazed

at breakfast colors. Blear eyes blinked

as an orange burst unleashed the town…

…The Sun! Oh, what a proud new life

melted the shadow drifts, heaped high

carols of garlands of thanksgiving!

Then the white holiday grew old.

Greens, yellows, reds…eyes glaze, palms sweat.

Day labor stretches east to west.

The populace felt quite oppressed

and wished the ebullient sun to cease.

“Oh, cherished night, sleep, peace, oh night!”

they cried, walking their flowering gardens.

They cried, they wished. Night never came.

Sun beamed down….

Carey Jobe is a retired attorney and judge who has published poetry over a 45-year span. His work has recently appeared in The Orchards Poetry Journal, The Lyric, The Road Not Taken, Sparks of Calliope, and The Society of Classical Poets. He has authored a volume of poetry, By River or Gravel Road, and is currently working on a second collection. He lives and writes in the lush landscape south of Tallahassee, Florida.


Apr 16, 2023

I love "Little Lessons", especially its concluding two lines.

Apr 16, 2023
Replying to

Thank you, ddouthat09!


Cindy Erlandson
Cindy Erlandson
Apr 15, 2023

What I like most about these beautiful poems is the many rich phrases: "Greek beauty callously marked down"; "Her iced eyes thawed"; "like a joy / spun patiently from grief"; "like minds that till the local soil / to guess what planets are."

Apr 15, 2023
Replying to

Cindy, I'm so glad so liked my poems. Thank you for commenting. Carey


Unknown member
Apr 15, 2023

I enjoy the overall conceit of "'The Desktop Muse," so ably summoned. In addition, the rhyme scheme, a surprising one, works well to reinforce the winsome story being told.

Apr 15, 2023
Replying to

Johnny Payne, thanks for commenting--and for noting the rhyme scheme. Yes, it is intended to reinforce the theme.


Apr 15, 2023

What wonderful poems these are! At first glance the poem I am most attracted to is the second one. This is odd because it is written in ballad metre, which can be very difficult to use without seeming somewhat trite and corny. But all three are well worth looking closely at. And leave a clear impression on the mind. (And heart.)

David Gosselin
David Gosselin
Apr 17, 2023
Replying to

In the case of the ballad, I think it actually helps that one line runs on into the next stanza. It seems to go against that sing-song quality that we might expect a modern ballad to get stuck in. Instead it has continuity and carries the musicality over in a way that surprises and refreshes.

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