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Roy Jerden's Blog

About Roy Jerden
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I starting writing poetry again in 2012 after a 50 year hiatus.

Born and raised in West Texas, I lived all over the area as a child until my mother remarried, as my father was in the oil drilling business, which required constant moving. I grew up in San Angelo, home of Fort Concho and the Buffalo Soldiers, but spent quite a few summers working on my grandpa's farm in the Texas Hill Country.

I met my wife Toni while I was stationed at Aviano AFB, Italy. I learned to speak Italian fluently and we still speak it at home interchangeably with English. My three sons, all born in Italy after I got out of the USAF, also speak Italian.

We moved back to the USA in 1972 and settled in Missouri, where I went back to school.

We moved to Atlanta in 1988, when Toni relocated here with AT&T. I got a job with McKesson (then HBOC) working with medical information systems, which started my career in this field. I had a natural talent for application design and parlayed this talent into a great R&D management position with an internet startup.

We are now retired. We spend time traveling the world and visiting our grandchildren in CA and NC. We also spend some time in Italy almost every year visiting and traveling with friends in Europe as we have a small apartment there in Sacile near Aviano, not far from Venice.

My other passions are mushroom hunting (the edible kind), gourmet cooking and bread baking.

A peek under the kimono

Blog Posted:1/13/2014 7:33:00 PM

Did you ever wonder what a poet meant by a particular phrase, descriptive term, or line?
Why the poet organized the poem in a certain way or chose a particular form?
What effects or feelings the poet was trying to evoke?
Why the words in certain lines had a different rhythm?

Sometimes you can get these explanations at a poetry reading, or if the poet is famous, their works may have been written about and analyzed. In Shakespeare’s case of course, the analysis exceeds his body of work.

So here, I'm going to deconstruct a poem of mine, at least partially. I invite you to do the same. I think it will be a learning experience.

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."

Deconstruction and comments:

This poem was one of the first I ever posted. It was inspired by Neil Armstrong's death a few months prior. The moon landing itself is metaphorically depicted as a romantic kiss.

There are also some astronomical/space metaphors:

In the first line "who only saw your face" refers to the fact that the moon always shows the same face to the earth because its rotational period is equal to its orbital period, i.e. it is "locked", typical to many moons and small planets like Mercury.
All the Moon's phases are listed in the 3rd line. Interestingly, listed this way, they are almost perfect iambic feet.
Selene and Diana are moon goddesses.
"Ether" is the "fifth" Greek element, representing space, used here to stay within the classical theme.
The "tranquil sea" in the second stanza is a metaphor for undisturbed space, but it also refers to the actual landing site, the Sea of Tranquility.
The "ravaged face" in the next line refers to the many meteor craters on the moon's surface.
The "powdered veil" in the next line refers to the layer of moon dust covering the moon's surface.
“Apollo's silver chariot” refers to the spacecraft itself, of course, and the Apollo mission. The god Apollo had a gold one.
"Godspeed" actually means "Good Speed" but also refers to an expression of good wishes to a person starting a journey."Godspeed" was also used as an Apollo pun.
"Luna's jealous grip" refers to the Moon's gravitational field.
“Eagle's talons” refers to the lunar module's life support system. The verb “cradle” was used to re-enforce the idea of a mother's protection.
The "kiss" is the soft landing itself, naturally.
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  1. Date: 1/15/2014 2:24:00 PM
    Now, let's see if hot brings in another reader.... I still say change the title of this blog to WHO WANTS TO TAKE A PEEK? Roy, this deserves to be read by more than me, the blog-hog. Good stuff. I liked how you shared your thinking and allowed us to look deeper into a poem. I will put up mine, but I swear I might title it FREE BEER HERE, LOL! Smiles from Cyndi-

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    Jerden Avatar Roy Jerden Date: 1/15/2014 3:02:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Done. Let's see if the bait is better.
  1. Date: 1/15/2014 2:21:00 PM

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  1. Date: 1/15/2014 2:20:00 PM

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  1. Date: 1/15/2014 2:20:00 PM

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  1. Date: 1/15/2014 2:19:00 PM
    C'mon people this is an awesome poem and one cool blog.WE NEED MORE OF THESE

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  1. Date: 1/15/2014 2:19:00 PM

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  1. Date: 1/15/2014 2:18:00 PM
    and a three

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  1. Date: 1/15/2014 2:18:00 PM
    Maybe you should change the title to Naked Pictures. LOL

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  1. Date: 1/15/2014 2:17:00 PM
    Sad that I am the only one who commented here/hear. Hmmm... Roy, I'm going to be silly. I watched Nikko do this once, bless her heart. Laugh or swat me, either way, I'm making this hot. LOL!

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  1. Date: 1/15/2014 2:17:00 PM
    and a two

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  1. Date: 1/13/2014 7:57:00 PM
    Awesome poem, awesome blog! It took me 'til the third stanza to get the title, but then I'm tired. I wasn't sure what I was reading until I got to the third line. I LIKE when a poem feels slightly mysterious, for a line or two. I don't want it all spelled out, TOO clear. I got many of these references (my given name is Cynthia, another moon goddess name) One question. What made you think of using ether? Thanks for posting this, I've done this, too in a blog ... oh, ages ago. Can I try to repost it? My computer is acting hinky and I can't seem to blog anything without odd characters appearing, my colour no longer works, centering, ANY-thing. Still, I'm willing to go for it... should I?

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    Jerden Avatar Roy Jerden Date: 1/14/2014 7:01:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Thanks, Cyndi. Go for it! BTW, I will update my deconstruction a bit. I used "ether", the fifth Greek element, as the word for space to stay within the classical theme.

My Past Blog Posts

Cowboys in the Badlands Part 2 - Roy Jerden
Date Posted: 9/21/2014 7:30:00 PM
Cowboys in the Badlands Part 1 - Roy Jerden
Date Posted: 9/19/2014 10:32:00 PM
The Pedicure Virgin - Roy Jerden
Date Posted: 9/11/2014 8:19:00 PM
How to make an image out of a long poem
Date Posted: 9/3/2014 12:58:00 PM
How to do a scansion of your poem to verify the meter
Date Posted: 8/19/2014 6:03:00 PM
Too Subtle?
Date Posted: 8/15/2014 1:39:00 PM
New Feature -Poet's Notes About the Poem
Date Posted: 8/2/2014 12:31:00 PM
Free Verse: Start here or finish here
Date Posted: 7/21/2014 7:04:00 PM
Bogus Entries in Contests
Date Posted: 7/19/2014 6:46:00 AM
Punctuation and Capitalization in Poetry
Date Posted: 7/18/2014 6:35:00 PM
About Poem/Poem Notes/Inspiration, etc.
Date Posted: 7/18/2014 8:17:00 AM
Bawdy Limericks II Judged
Date Posted: 7/6/2014 2:48:00 PM
To Footnote or Not to Footnote?
Date Posted: 7/3/2014 8:47:00 PM
User trying to set a password
Date Posted: 6/24/2014 10:01:00 PM
Centering, Bolding, and Italicizing in a Poem
Date Posted: 6/9/2014 9:51:00 PM
Bawdy Limerick Contest Complete
Date Posted: 6/7/2014 4:38:00 PM
Limerick Contest Update - Last chance
Date Posted: 5/27/2014 5:31:00 PM
Bonnie Parker's Poetry
Date Posted: 5/24/2014 2:48:00 PM
Limerick Contest Update
Date Posted: 5/22/2014 2:48:00 PM
Kudos on the Miltonic Sonnet Contest
Date Posted: 5/13/2014 4:06:00 PM
Limerick Contest
Date Posted: 5/4/2014 7:56:00 PM
Roy's Ramblings - The Final Invention
Date Posted: 5/4/2014 9:42:00 AM
Contest Enhancements I'd Like to See
Date Posted: 4/24/2014 10:12:00 AM
Age Test
Date Posted: 3/23/2014 8:44:00 PM
A couple of not so burning questions
Date Posted: 3/23/2014 12:23:00 PM

My Poems

Date PostedPoem TitleFormCategories
9/22/2014I'm a 4Clerihewtribute,
9/15/2014The Empty QuarterAlliterationearth,nature,stars,
8/31/2014Bad GoldilocksAbecedarianhumorous,
8/25/2014Pussy RiotChastushkahumor,
8/23/2014Matryoshkan MultiverseHaibunhumor,
8/18/2014A Roll of Duct Tape - FootleFootlehumor,
8/10/2014The New OneBlank versedark,
8/5/2014Picket Tupp and Poteeta WheyQuatrainchild,children,
7/22/2014A Brush of WingsVersebird,
7/16/2014Great A'Tuin - the Giant Star TurtleHaibundeath,journey,stars,
7/13/2014Blood on the SaddleLimerickfunny,vacation,
7/8/2014Willow: A FableRhymechildren,death,dream,fant
6/30/2014Ragnarok: The StormEpyllionweather,
6/28/2014Dante's PathQuatrainspiritual,
6/11/2014Bill's DrillLimerickhumorous,
5/26/2014Albert EinsteinClerihewhumorous,science,
5/22/2014John Cougar MellencampClerihewbio,humorous,
5/14/2014Into the SunlightHaikunature,
5/7/2014Jonah Falcon He's NotLimerickfunny,
5/6/2014The Well Traveled LinguistLimerickhumorous,
5/5/2014Raise the MastLimerickhumorous,
5/4/2014Are you glad to see me or is that just a wrinkleLimerickage,funny,

My Photos

Fav Poems

Poem TitleFormCategories
AmazementFree verseplaces,voice,life,voice,
Pearl DivingQuatrainlove,
Slow Movin TightsBalladme,red,women,
That Night We KissedRondeauromanceheart,night,heart,
A Voice In The WindRhymeimagination,nature,
Within a StormSonnetinspirational,
Sailing the Seas In A Pecan TreeRhymeadventure,old,
Soul of the PoetQuatrainfarewell,poems,poetess,
MuseFree versewords,writing,
Falling upwardRhymeanger,angst,bereavement,b
No Longer Mourn for Me When I Am DeadLyricdeath,faith,religious,

Fav Poets

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