Jean Jones

The February Featured Poet is Jean Jones

Please feel free to email Jean at: jean.jones1964@yahoo.com

Jean Jones


When Orpheus asked his critics what they wanted from him,
They all said, “Astonish us!”
Can you do that? Astonish your critics?
Robert Frost claimed that it was what “got lost in translation.”
And Sandburg claimed it was a sack “of invisible keepsakes.”
What is it to you?
I would claim that the key lay “in the hands, something in the hands, surely it must be that.”
My friend, Andrea Young, asks me, “Are you reaching toward being a true poet?”
What is it, Andrea?
What is it? Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote,
Regarding the true poet the following:
“The true philosopher and the true poet are one, and a beauty, which is truth, and a truth, which is beauty, is the aim of both.”
My friend, Howard McCord, wrote to me and said, “Poetry is whisky. Prose is mash. DISTILL!”
I still wish to be astonished.

(A poem about the poet’s mother)

Bitterness was not your calling card.
Neither was regret.
If you had not lived these last ten years
My memories of you
Would have been filled with bitterness, anger,
Regret and frustration.
The anger is not totally gone.
Neither is the regret. But watching you deal
With less and less power in your hands, not under your control—
To accept these losses
Without bitterness and regret has taught me
How to grow old with grace
And fall in love with you
Perhaps for the first time
Since I was a little boy
And loved you as my mother


I’ve been told
That before you die
You see your double,
That Catherine the Great
Saw her double
And ordered the guards
To kill that woman,
And when they couldn’t find her,
Catherine died.
I saw my double last night
Waiting for the light to turn:
Behind me was a man just like me,
A bit heftier, I thought, but for all I know
He was me, the way that others see me,
Or he could have been me if I had done a few things differently in my past.
And next to him was a woman who was a dead ringer for my ex,
And she was twirling her hair like my wife does now when she gets bored,
And this woman was trying to talk to my double,
But he was glaring forward at the road,
Right through to back of my neck, his eyes glazed over.
So, I turned and waved goodbye
To one of my possible pasts
When the light changed.
Maybe I will die soon…maybe not.
All I know is that for now
I’m glad about the choices I made,
And like Frost wrote, “that has made all the difference.”

Jean Jones has an MFA in Creative Writing Poetry from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. He teaches English as a Second Language part-time at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, and has two books, Beyond Good and Evil and Birds of Djakarta that are available on Amazon.com.