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Best Roy Jerden Poems

Below are the all-time best Roy Jerden poems as chosen by PoetrySoup members

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The Angel Inside

Coral life forms in copious swarms
feast in the Cambrian chyme,
dividing their cells and forming their shells
to end on the seafloor as lime.
Tectonic churning and magma upturning
renders marble whiter than bone.
The marble is mined, but the cutters are blind
to the angel confined in the stone.

A young sculptor arose, with a bend in his nose
and a transcendent creative spark,
charged with ambition to fulfill a commission,
an angel for St. Dominic's Ark.
An artist sublime who will live for all time,
his genius is to see things not shown.
For an angel to achieve he first has to perceive
its splendor enclosed in the stone.

At dawning's first glow he surveys the tableau
of the blocks the stone cutters supplied.
In some he sees dreams of potential themes,
but only one holds an angel inside.
“A beautiful thing never gives so much pain 
as does failing to hear it and see it.”
The block that he chose was rejected by those
who then lied and claimed to foresee it.
With talent and skill he falls to with a will,
surrounded by rubble and relic.
His method you see, for the angel to free
is to remove all the bits not angelic.
Michelangelo’s art for all time stands apart
but there's something further to heed.
For there's a bit more to the fine metaphor
in the tale of the angel he freed.

“A beautiful thing never gives so much pain 
as does failing to hear it and see it.”
For in all our insides a bright angel abides
and is just waiting for something to free it:
to remove all the parts which harden our hearts,
to chip out the darkness and pride,
to smooth the rough patches, to polish the scratches
and unshackle the angel inside.

© January 26, 2013

Copyright © Roy Jerden

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Kiss of the Eagle

Many eons passed on Earth, who only saw your face
Untouched your virgin body, floating there in space
Waxing, waning, gibbous, crescent, quarter, full and new
Selene the Greeks would call you; Diana, Caesar knew

Who would brave the ether, who would cross the void
To agitate the tranquil sea you had so long enjoyed
To softly kiss your ravaged face and return to tell the tale
Of Luna's hidden secrets beneath her powdered veil?

Three heroes took the final quest aboard their fiery steed
In Apollo's silver chariot proceeding with godspeed
Three days and nights they voyaged to their opalescent goal
On Earth they watched and worried in the halls of ground control

One held the craft outside the reach of Luna's jealous grip
While Eagle's talons cradled two who risked the final trip
They timidly approached her through the shadowy abyss
Luna waited patiently and received the Eagle's kiss

Nations watched and cheered on Terra's distant shore
As one man finally took a step no one ever took before
In our hearts and in our minds his words will be enshrined
"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

August 27, 2012

This poem was inspired by Neil Armstrong's death. 
There are quite a few metaphors scattered through
the poem.

Copyright © Roy Jerden

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Redneck Santa

T'were the night after Christmas, 'n' the house was all dark
Not much money for 'lectric in the ol' trailer park
Ma waitin' tables at the club on the base
Jist me and my sisters alone in the place

A big ol' blue norther, t'were a hard winter storm
We's all snuggled up close, jist tryin' ta stay warm
The trailer's as cold as a well digger's ass
Cause they come out that mornin' and turnt off the gas

I shore kinda hated to git out of that bed
But ol' Mother Nature made me git up, instead
I'd gotta go out if I wanted a leak
'Cause the toilet had bin all plugged up fer a week

Outside it 'peered warmer, which was a suprise
As I peed on the tree, sumpin lit up the skies
Them lights shined down on the yard, and I froze
Shore prayed it warn't one of them weird UFO's

As I stood thar turnin' round and around
There was white stuff fallin' and coatin' the ground
I grabbed a big buncha it up in my mitts
I thought it was snow, but turnt out it were grits

I heared a big motor runnin' up overhead
And down come a monster truck painted all red
It bounced on the front 'n' bounced on the back
Then the driver clumb down 'n' grabbed a tow sack

He was white-haired 'n' husky, with red overalls
With ZZ Top whiskers 'n' blood-shot eyeballs
A red John Deere work cap was perched on his nut
And a WalMart white T-shirt half-covered his gut

He look like he just come off'n the farm
'Cept fer them tattoos of elves on his arm
As I stood around there jist like a complete dick
He says, “Boy ain't you gonna say crap to St. Nick?”

“Yes siree Bob”, says I, “I got sumpin to say.
I'd shore like ta know where you was yesterday.
The toilet's stopped up and we's all out of heat.
Ain't got no money and they's nuthin' to eat.”

“I was fixin' ta make it on time”, he then said.
He look kinda sheepish, and hung down his head.
“But I stopped at a bar when I finished my rounds.
And run inna St. Paddy at the Hare 'n' the Hounds."

"Ya know that he's the very best pal of St. Nick.
But there's none who can put 'em away like that Mick.
And the next thing ya know, we's over at Chances
Where that Tooth Fairy is doin' ten-dollar lap dances.”

“The Tooth Fairy a stripper? That done give me the chills!”
“Yessir”, says he, “Where ya think she gits all them bills?”
“Jist a minute”, I goes. “Where's the reindeer and sleigh?”
He turnt even redder, and then looked away.

“Well, we had a poker game goin', I thought I would win.
I was holdin' four aces and bet everthang in.”
There was a palpable silence, a terrible hush.
“Then that damn Easter Bunny laid down a straight flush.”

“Well, I cut cards with a redneck and won me that truck
But as for the reindeer, they was squat outta luck
They throwed a big barbeque, and cooked 'em up slow
But I must say them reindeer's good eatin', ya know?”

No Dasher, no Dancer, no Prancer and Vixen!
No Comet, no Cupid, no Donner and Blitzen!
For hung on that red-painted monster truck's nose
was eight pairs of antlers, lined up in two rows.

“Anyway, I brung vittles for you and the girls.”
And out of the sack pulled six freshly skint squirrels.
“I jist bagged 'em thar in yer neighbor's back yard
Fry 'em up well, boy, with plenty of lard.”

I goes, “Them squirrels is rilly fine eatin' fer shore,
But ta git past tomorrow, we's gonna need more.”
says he,“Well, I's a bit short on cash fer today.”
And he give me six lottery numbers to play.

Then up drives my ma with bad blood in her eye
Draws out her six-shooter, jist primed to let fly.
Then lowers her arm down and commences to bawl
says, “I love you, you bastard, you tol' me you'd call!”

He says, “Boy, looks like it's not healthy to linger
Sticks his mitt out 'n' goes “Just pull on my finger.
The truck is fer you, son. I bid ya goodnight.”
And on a column of wind, he plumb riz out of sight.

I feels fevered and flushed as I stands there in awe
And I reckons this redneck St. Nick was my paw.
A voice far-off hollers, “Merry Christmas, now, y'all!
Then adds, “Don't fret none baby, jist wait fer my call!”

December 19, 2013
P.S. Them lottery numbers worked out good. We
bought a double-wide on our own lot 'n' a giant
TV and had still had lots of money left over fer
me to go to big rig truck driving school and Ma
to that there beauty college.

Copyright © Roy Jerden

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Halloween on the Dark Side of Town

It's a nightmare down on Elm Street. Satan's waiting here at home.
Where's that little Freddy Krueger with his nails of sharpened chrome?
And that dearest Michael Myers, as he's always sure to call?
Halloween won't be so keen without some slashers in the hall.

They're all meeting up with Jason and the other demon spawn
to pay Old Scratch a visit, so I'll leave the porch light on.
I'm your sugar devil daddy and I'll tempt you if I can,
so now open up those goody bags, cause I'm your candy man.

Welcome, all you little zombies. Here, I've got some flesh for you!
It's in a candy wrapper and so much easier to chew.
Just hold out your plastic treat bag, and hold off eating me.
The junk I'm gonna give you tastes much better than my knee.

It's so loaded up with sugar, you'll be bouncing off the walls.
So go ahead and gorge yourselves and fill the bathroom stalls.
Kneel before the porcelain god or use the toilet sink.
You can always use the practice now, for later when you drink.

You can't take a piece of healthy fruit or any home-made treat.
The media have made damn sure it's only junk food that you'll eat.
So celebrate my holiday and consume till it's obscene.
Welcome into my domain... and Happy Halloween!

October 15, 2014

Copyright © Roy Jerden

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Ancient Dance

In twilight, old songs you're softly humming.
Silken smiles enliven your lovely face,
beguiling my presence still, becoming
in all your ways, sweet gift of heaven's grace.

Deep your eyes, beheld above the stillness
of mystic mien, dismissing every voice.
Caresses known in sadness and in illness,
a bounty cherished, if you make the choice.

Alluringly, you draw the bedroom curtain
and sing in softest voice of violins.
Of languid looks and outcome certain,
as old as Eve, the ancient dance begins.

Sway, your heated honey scent of passion
and poise, anticipating kiss conceived,
shall return my longing, in your fashion
and make my life ten times a joy perceived.

My love grows great to see your form advance
and weave with siren song the ancient dance.

Copyright © Roy Jerden

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Delicacy of Leaves

Crash! Bang! Poof! The angry leaves assault my roof
My canine friend turns end to end, and cries out with a woof
I grab my rake and take a break, enjoying autumn's show
No haste to battle Zephyr's breath, with such a fine tableau

Then a pause and silence falls, and time slows to a crawl
Molecules of red and gold in fractal loops enthrall
Leafy fingers stroke my brow, a delicate caress
Cares and worries leave my mind and harried thoughts regress

A second seems forever as I'm lost in reverie
A timeless crystal moment of deep serenity
Then I stir, my eyes unblur and I roll up my sleeves
I put my mind in focus, and begin to rake the leaves

August 23, 2012

Copyright © Roy Jerden

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The Empty Quarter

Desirous dust devils dance for a glowing gold god,
withering winds wandering whither they wish.

Silenced as shadows stretch, silhouetting strange shapes,
elongated ellipses etching the expansive emptiness.

Quickly cooling, the sunset slathers the sky in carnelian colors.

Deep desert darkness descends, a moonless diaphanous dome.
Looming above us, the luminous universe lifts our eyes aloft.

A celestial shining so supreme it spawns starry shadows,
succoring our unsatisfied souls in its empyrean embrace...

The watcher waits...

September 15, 2014

Copyright © Roy Jerden

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Bobcat Moon

She sits on the porch in a cool desert night
A bobcat stalks prey in the day's fading light
The moon looks like a big orange in the blue
Evoking old memories she thought she outgrew

Memories of nights of moutons and mums
High stepping half-times and booming bass drums
And homecoming dances that ended too soon 
Under West Texas stars and a big bobcat moon

He sits on the beach in an evening gulf breeze
An autumn vacation in the Florida keys
The moon looks like a big orange in the blue
And brings to his mind an old memory anew

The reunion that gathered together that year
Old friends and acquaintances scattered and near
To tell stories of glories till late afternoon
And share in the evening the big bobcat moon

We sit by the lakeside past sunset one time
The end of another communion sublime
The moon looks like a big orange in the blue
And summons a vision of friends we once knew

She flies round the barrel with her long ponytail
He yells and rings joy on the victory bell
We loved them and all those who left us too soon
We'll remember them well with the big bobcat moon

©January 10, 2013

For my high school reunion group. The bobcat is our school mascot. 
In Texas, girls often dressed up for the homecoming game and were given a chrysanthemum (mum) corsage by their date. In the late fifties an inexpensive "fur" coat made from straightened and dyed sheepskin called a "mouton" was often worn by girls wanting to look elegant.

Copyright © Roy Jerden

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Dante's Path

Oh seed of Dante, dost thy path
in mid-life's turning gone astray
upon a sylvan darkness hath
to tread a rut with feet of clay?

Wast thou that youth of virtue pure
who bargained not with Judgment Day
untempered green convictions sure
before life's tests induced decay?

Didst compromise and circumstance
thy dreams of glory put away
to promise them a second chance
if thou but wouldst concede delay?

Rejoice upon thy wisdom learned!
With youth's illusions purged away
there's still a kingdom to be earned.
Persist, persist, and find the way!

June 28, 2014

Copyright © Roy Jerden

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Keep It Turnin' to the Right

Oklahoma cowboy, tough coal miner’s son
Born in Henryetta, south of Tulsa some
Raised by daddy’s momma, taught him wrong from right
Daddy taught him ropin’, taught him how to fight
Herding made no money, its stock was really down
Mamaw feeling poorly, dad mining at Old Town
December seventeenth, in the year of twenty-nine
Dad was shoring timber, 9th west entry of the mine
The gas ignited close to him, he never smelt its breath
It belched out fire and thunder, and everlasting death
Sixty-one they counted, who wouldn’t see the sun
Twenty-five weren't recognized, they buried them as one
On that fatal Tuesday, the boy became a man
Had to make a living, had to have a plan
Heard about the oil patch, got a chance to try it
Drill the earth for all she’s worth; keep it turnin' to the right

Some they called him weevil, some they called him worm
Some they wouldn't speak to him, figgered he was just short term
They told him "Open up that vee door; go to get the key
It's in the possum belly, in doghouse number three"

Took his turns at floor hand, at first a little green
Became the fastest broke out hand the driller ever seen
Morning tour, evening tour, working day and night
Drilled the earth for all she's worth, kept it turnin' to the right

The driller called him partner; the pusher called him son
The other roughnecks shook his hand, and took him in as one
Got up on the monkeyboard; learned to spin the chain
Pumped that mud and shed his blood, and worked right through the pain

On a bitter frosty evening tour, in a cold December snow
He saw derricks lit like Christmas trees in distance far below
He saw the fairyland of the refinery, shining through the night
He saw Mother Earth and the universe, all turning to the right

The oil patch was a hard life, moving all the time
But he saved a lot of money, didn't waste a dime
Morning tour, evening tour, working day and night
Drilled the earth for all she's worth, kept it turnin' to the right

Sent his kids to college, working through the years
One became a teacher, the others engineers
He hung up his hardhat; he shed his steel-toed shoes
Then one day he passed away; he'd finally paid his dues

Made it to the Pearly Gates; they handed him his wings
Handed 'em right back to them; said "I don't need these things.
I want to do some drilling. That's my heavenly plan."
They said "Go talk to the Devil then, cause he's the company man."

Old Scratch needed hellfire; he always come up short
Too many politicians and others of that sort
When he heard they had a driller, he jumped up with delight
He danced a jig, "You've got your rig. Keep it turnin' to the right."

Now he drills for hellfire; in the derrick he's got Jake
Buck and Sam on the platform; Sonny's on the brake
They all grin like demons; they're all where they belong
Doing what they love to do, they sing their roughneck song

"We all eat caliche and drink the devil's brew
Play dominos with Satan and skunk him at forty-two
Work all day on Sunday and honky-tonk all night
We're oilfield trash and we'll take cash to keep it turnin' to the right

We all love West Texas; it's like the Promised Land
Horny toads and rocky roads, and even dunes of sand
Dust storms every morning, northers every night
We get tans and freeze our cans to keep it turnin' to the right"

The lingo used around the rig you won't hear much in church
It'll curl your hair and make you stare and leave you in the lurch
So close your eyes and realize it's gonna get much worse
Drink your beers and plug your ears; here comes the final verse

"We p*ss longneck Lone Stars; we f*rt Frito pie
Give us ****, and we will spit some Red Man in your eye
Don't **** with us, or we will cuss and bring you to the fight
We're low class, but we kick *** to keep it turning to the right"

Coal mining, oil drilling and Hell - Doesn't get much darker and deeper...

Copyright © Roy Jerden