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Poetry by Robert Elzy Cogswell 

Robert lives in Austin, TX.





© 2008 Robert Elzy Cogswell





Flat, Smooth and Hard


Pavement lounges turgid in parking lots,

immense and hot. At cement apertures

the concrete cuddles up to shoulders of asphalt.

From there the road meanders through the city

to find the places we want to go. A gray

flatness outlines the farmland, voraciously eats

the flora, gels in excruciating plainness,

stable yet always seeking destinations.

All along the ribbon, cracks punctuate

the highway, and within their admission of weakness,

plants arise, too small for tires to touch

yet large enough to raise in the face of progress

a stubborn sign, a fist of tiny flowers

to say that something stronger still survives.




Wag Your Tail


A poorly trained dog, overcome by need,

will always rise on hind legs

to beg your attention,

ignoring the well-being

of whatever couture

you have chosen for the day.

The tail inevitably wags,

a symbol of good will

used for any circumstance

requiring diplomacy.

The dog never thinks, I must wag my tail.

The dog sends no command

to that important appendage.

Something in the dog knows.

If I were a molecule in the tail of a dog,

I would do my duty, we always do,

but I would always wonder,

who's in charge?

Tougher the issue of my obedient heart,

drumming, drumming, drumming,

counting carefully the inches

in a human life. No signal from my brain

instructs those atoms on what to do.

They know how to start.

They know how to continue.

And unlike any dog,

they know how to quit.

I only watch, astonished, and ask,

who's in charge?

When a tail stops wagging,

when a heart stops beating,

when the wind stops blowing,

when the vine of metaphor

stops wreathing the tower of meaning,

a mournful song needs to rise

and spread through the meadows -

we passed through all this

without knowing anything.
















All work is copyrighted property of Robert Elzy Cogswell.




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