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Poems in

Many Fragrances

James Gould

© 2018 James Gould

Smashwords Edition

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These poems distill my seven decades of life experience in four styles: mine, Japanese, e.e. Cummings, and a wee bit of Robert Burns.

Interlaced themes include love, life, nature, people, places, aging, a little naughty, a little humor, and even a biker as sensualist.

I welcome you to stroll this path with me and my muse.





Woman-child, tame and wild

Parts so wide and wondrous,

Shall I know the all of you

Before the sun’s last setting?

Or may I hope (love and loved)

Sharing joys (not as toys)

Life a fullness be.

Then shall darkness close lightly

And sleep come gently.

A sigh for you-ful,

Haply was life

Thusly is death.


In the roar of silence

We hear the ticking clock

The newsprint’s rustle

The book’s turning page.

And in the silence between us

We feel the rage of wrongs

At intimacy denied

Of fights unfinished

At attacks on self

Piled up o’er the years.

We try a word or two but

They are swallowed up in

The black hole of our silence

Along with warmth and closeness.

We have had our supernova

And what is left is a burnt-out hulk

Ashes with feeble light

That radiate no heat.

I feel not anger

But sadness at loss

And a growing decision

To break away from this decaying orbit

Before I fall into the black hole

From which there is no exit.


A bitter wind flows east to west

From off the Hudson River

Down crosstown streets and cuts right through

And leaves me all a-shiver.

Walk the frozen Avenues

Ride downtown inside the tube

Thinking much of life and love

It’s just an unsolved Rubik’s Cube.

There are many ways to get it wrong

Fewer to get it right.

In the puzzle of love and the puzzle of life

Move the parts around midst storm and strife.

In this City of millions there must be one

So this restless search be done.

Just one to love, the missing part

And then my live can truly start.


Some love it comes like starbursts

In a starry night

Some love it comes like glimmers

Of summer’s firefly light

Some love it comes like thunder

Complete with storm and strife

Some love it comes more gently

As soft as newborn life

Some love it burns both fierce and fast

Consuming all before

Some love it glows like embers

Warming evermore

Some say that both are equal

It really doesn’t matter

But having lived in both sides now

I much prefer the latter.


Before we met, oh Jan, my Jan

My life was dark and mirthless.

A marriage failed, at fate I railed

And bottom fed on worthless.

But then we met, oh Jan, my Jan

Your smile a ray of sunshine.

And as your facets more I learned,

The more they sparkled fine.

You brought me back to love and life

With warmth and cheer all shared.

A happiness complete and warm

So perfect more’n I dared.

Not of early but of late

Life’s eddies brought us nigh.

Until the end we’ll stay a two

Until our dying sigh.

The years to come while side by side

Those years will have to do

But my wish, oh Jan, my Jan

Eternity with you.



I smile when I see:

a newborn baby staring wide eyed at the world

the sheer joy on the face of a toddler taking his first steps

a young girl streaking by on her pink and sparkly scooter

a dad holding hands, listening to the chatter of his child

a not-quite-woman first time dressing and swaying to be noticed

a young couple kissing on the street, oblivious to all but love

an elder couple with tentative steps still holding hands

my wife’s face when we meet after apart for an hour or days

I smile when I see:

fat flakes floating down in winter

bright daffodils shouting spring

puffy clouds in a summer sky

tossing grass waving in the wind

shrouds of misted rain drifting through dripping leaves

geese in chevron flight, honking their way south

a chipmunk scurrying atop an old stone wall

songbirds picking through the seeds in my feeder

flames licking firewood, radiating heat to my face

riffles in a stream, shimmers in a lake

I smile when I see:

A twisty road ahead, astride my motorcycle

A school of curious fish staring back at me

while diving a colorful reef

The ground fall away beneath an airplane

bound for a new place

I smile when I:

Do my Boy Scout good turn daily

Talk to a child or a friend or a

maybe could-be-friend

Scribe a sentence that flows

Engage my students

Read something new

Build a new memory

Learn something new

Ramble through any sort of museum

The world has much to make me frown

I prefer things that make me smile.


Touch a rock, rub the rough

Seems to do no harm.

Touch a branch, rub the bark

Think of leaves and blooms.

Touch a thought, push it away

It rebounds or it withers

But rub an angry thought

And roughen up your soul.

Hoarding up your anger and spite

Rubbing the wound with poison,

so it never heals.

Like a breath held in too long,

Just let it go with the breeze.


The human heart has endless room

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