The Jane Poems

by Ronald Moran

Cover image of The Jane Poems

The Jane Poems, by Ronald Moran (Clemson, SC: Clemson University Digital Press, 2011), viii+60 pp. Paper. ISBN 978-0-9842598-5-4

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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 quartet of poetry collections Ronald Moran has published with CUDP. The other three are

Sample Poems

The Frame

Your two by three inch picture taken for the church
                         keeps falling
off a filing cabinet in my den, not because it is
                         unsteady,

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.
                         Your picture
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:
                         head cocked,

a strand of pearls highlighting your long neck,
                         in a dress
of flowered print. I will remember you like that,
                         even though

your light plastic frame is cracked and almost as
                         unstable
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.