“Diary Poems” by Richard Jordan

Richard Jordan


What led her to write poetry she didn’t
show to others? She entrusted verses
to diaries with gold-edged pages, hidden
in a cedar chest. Preserved in cursive
are rondeaux and cinquains. She relished snow,
seashells, roses. There’s a bookmarked sonnet
about a grandchild she would never know,
a future that took shape the way she wanted.
My grandma had no training, didn’t go
beyond eighth grade. Amid the Great Depression
she worked the mills, saved feed sacks to make clothes.
But here’s a line she wrote absent the lessons:
Dusk rolls a coral carpet down the stream.
I’ve seen that for myself. For real. In dreams.

from Rattle #78, Winter 2022
Rattle Poetry Prize Finalist


Richard Jordan: “Mathematician Lipman Bers (1914–1993) said, ‘mathematics is very much like poetry … what makes a good poem—a great poem—is that there is a large amount of thought expressed in very few words.’ I’m a mathematician myself, and while I can’t really explain what drives my need/desire to express myself via the written word, I guess it isn’t all that surprising that I turn to poetry to do so.”

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