Nellie Isabelle Steward Cooper

Nellie Isabelle Steward Cooper Poems

Finally now, we see below us
The abyss over which we have traveled
All these years the whisper- thin
Web of our imagining

I did nothing special
On the day
They put the two youngsters
In their graves

From a really true dream
wings are grown
And the dream it will fly

How when you are dead
Will you touch other hearts
Unless now when you can
You lay bare your own?

Since you are gone the stones lie differently along the ground
and words that are the same now have a different sound
sharp and clear in early dawn there is a road I cannot travel on

This day will never begin again
(Nor this hour, nor this minute)
I will look carefully to see what is in it

A yellow dress for sale
Worn only twice
As good as new
At a very low price

So many birds twittering outside my little window, chirping,
chortling, and hop, hop hopping about

All eating, eating, eating with great gusto, bread crumbs, little tidbits,

There is an opposite
Of love
That is unlove

If a mind! ! !

What mind? ? ?

Some goodbyes may be said
In the heart and alone
Long before the final hour

Oh I would not have you clear me, so quickly
so quietly away - away -away! ! !

And into the trash bin throw

The sun descends as though it bade farewell
The night comes on - How dark? - How close!
Heat lightning rims the black far mountains as we pause, blackening our path!

Strange that a smile
Should slide away like that
As though fallen from her face

Come in as bright blue sky

As breaks forth from
eternal dawn


We scarcely pause to speculate
what throngs behind a face

What multitudes of worlds there be

Beyond the province of the mind
branches twist and forever clutch
thin grey witch tresses we seek and find

Bright flowers
Some our hands must pick
these flowers so rare and bright

She went to gather
Fruit from the wild plum tree
that was uphill and hidden from the house

Heaven may not be connected
to this star and survival may
not be equated to
an on-goingness

Nellie Isabelle Steward Cooper Biography

I Was Born In Youngstown, Ohio I am one of those numerous people who was born in Ohio but moved away at a very young age, in my case about six years old, and not far away did I move, only across the state line from Youngstown to the area around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, then later up to a farming community between there and the New York state line, still later across that line to the furniture manufacturing town of Jamestown, in western New York where I finished high school at Jamestown High School (Red Raiders) and married in the same month. This was a rather compact area (Jamestown) and this was my whole bailiwick, though it encompassed a number of ways of living, and several distinct environments. There were to a large extent several kinds of families; as I recall, Swedish, Irish, or Italian, and at least one family of African American heritage.... I always supposed this to be so because in our high school which served the whole town, there was but one black student, named Wharton, who was a star athlete, and he sat behind me in one class. I fit in just dandy, being mostly Irish with a very stern strain of Scot Highland for the rest.... My girlfriends were all Swedish and my boyfriends were Italian, except one who was English, a real weird thing to find up there. But I managed to marry a fellow whose ancestry was Dutch. I didn't have anything to do with the Irish, which perplexed my mother. I couldn't bear how brash those boys were, and all that! Italian boys read you Shakespeare in the park and sang to you accompanied by their mandolins or guitars, and were ever so polite as their mothers insisted. It was very hard even then to find an obedient boy, especially an obedient Irish boy. But I found Ernie outside Jamestown in a little town up the lake, we didn't fall in love or anything so corny as that, we both just decided we hadn't met anyone we liked better, so why not, and let's get on with living. Except that it wasn't for long.... We worked at Chautauqua -On-The-Lake summers, and at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York. in the winters and when my husband contracted TB we could no longer work at either place. But it wasn't until a few weeks before he would be gone that we had by this time covered a good share of the South and the West of the USA together... We had been boon companions, we had truly lived our lives together, traveled to many-many places together, enjoyed ourselves together, suffered many degrading experiences together. I would never find another friend like Ernie. When Ernie died he was two months past his twenty-ninth birthday. But he had lived as he decided for the two years of life left to him. I ruled out begging and crying on my side, but we probably didn't realize how final death was, we couldn't realize, we thought our own strength would always be there as it always had been. So that after engaging ourselves in all the outside work we could, including field cropping and in the vineyards, we finally came home and Ernie died in the sanatorium there, with all the hateful associations and sufferings we both had with it. After Ernie's death I returned to California to see if what I had found there before was as horrible as it seemed, as we had lived mostly in migrant camps, Ernie and myself, yes we two strange birds were there in the mists of the Okie flock. After a bit I tried to return east, but I was diverted, even as Robert Frost was diverted, I had to cross a relentless stream of cars to reach a possible ride heading east, on the superhighway. So much easier was it for me to get a lift and go back to Modesto, and that made all the difference.....)

The Best Poem Of Nellie Isabelle Steward Cooper

The Grand Abyss

Finally now, we see below us
The abyss over which we have traveled
All these years the whisper- thin
Web of our imagining
Between us and destruction,
Mere shreds of no meaning

Wondering with increasing fascination
What's down there when we fall?
As we all must fall - and land
Is it more of the same - but harsher?
Oblivion with no dreams of enrapture

To the last measure the mind
Spins out it's boundless fancy
And though we say cease it does not cease
Envisions only broken threads
Where the others fell through
The silence of the air
With no breath of a whisper

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