Monday, December 28, 2009

Blizzard '09

A new poem inspired by travel during the season.

Blizzard '09

The cotton bloomed
on brittle brown stalks,
still standing, waiting for a late harvest.
The pale fog materialized,
too thick for us to see
the concrete bridge and migrating island.
From morning to dawn
the dense humidity would not relent,
blurring the horizon and the coast.
After the pummeling of hurricanes
over geological history,
the tides and currents
still deposited the white pure quartz.
The wind broke the fog
to rape our eyes with abrasive
and pile the broken crystals
along ridges, corners and features.
The pixels reported
of a white storm
able to stop mechanical man,
destroying our precision schedules
until melting into life.
Colorless glowing satin draped itself
over flesh now promised.
Despite the cover,
white is not an effective
as it contrasts all colors
and flows past the smooth curves
while accentuating
the imperfections.

-Robert L. Jackson III

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Movies and Books

I've watched a few decent movies lately that I thought I would mention.

First, I just finished watching The Legend of 1900 which contains some quite poetic moments in the film. It blends music with the realization of these significant moments and the journey that is life. The film is about a man whom is born on a cruise ship in 1900 and never sets foot on land (a literary situation if you ask me, I am sure you can make all sorts of metaphors and symbolic meaning from it). Here are some the quotes that I liked from it:

"You rolled out in front of me a keyboard of millions of keys, millions and billions of keys that never end. And that's the truth Max, that they never end. That keyboard is infinite... and if that keyboard is infinite, then on that keyboard there is no music you can play. You're sitting on the wrong bench... That is God's piano."

"Land? Land is a ship too big for me, it's a woman too beautiful, it's a voyage too long, perfume too strong..."

"Why, why, why, why, why, why, why, why, why, why, why? I think land people waste a lot of time wondering why?. Winter comes, you wish it was summer. Summer comes, you live in dread of winter. That's why we never tire of travel."

I also watched Gran Tourino by Clint Eastwood. I have really enjoyed all of his movies that he has directed. They really have a human realism too them that connects as all (as is especially shown in this film).

Finally, we decided to see the Time Traveler's Wife. Unfortunately I was not as enamored with this one. The could probably be considered a great book and is genius. However, I felt like the movie was a watered down chik-flick version (the graphic parts were left out mostly). It wasn't that bad though and might still be enjoyable to see.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Eclipse 7/22/09

I saw the eclipse in Korea (about 80% of total). Talk about dumb luck for scheduling a trip at this time. I was running around the park showing the locals my pinhole viewer (a piece of paper with a pin hole in it). Here is a poem inspired by the subject:

Eclipse 7/22/09
The sun
tried to darken
and return
to my natural state
on the other side.
The moon’s shadow
fit perfectly
over the sun’s bulb
as if designed
for this moment.
The light, though dimmed,
still burned
my blue eyes.
Sometimes white clouds
would filter it enough
to reveal the sharp crescent.
Barbarically pierced,
a thin sheet
also projected
the image on the ground
and others saw
and defaced their newspapers
to see the spectacle
without damage or language.

-Robert L. Jackson III

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Poem From Korea

Started writing this on the plane and then finished it when I could not sleep early in the morning:

arbor on arc

On all global surfaces
the statically flailing limbs
always grow toward the light
and the roots
always grow into the dark
core of the Earth.
The mirrored green trees
grow apart
and away from the Earth's center.
Their roots are the closest
but still distant.
Some branches
seek to strangle the sky,
while some droop
in return,
and others float
parallel to the ground.
Except for their trunks
they follow no artificial law
but are punished
by the pruning
around power lines,
unlike the strict hedges
aligning the road

-Robert L. Jackson III

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Top 25 Most Poetic Songs

Well, for lack of anything better to post, I've decided to list the Top 25 Most Poetic Songs. They have to be the most poetic rather than simply the best to stay inline with the subject of this blog. However, because poetry and song are very closely related, an actual list could go on and on. In addition, any such list really depends on the taste of the individual who makes the list. To be on the list the song also has to have a video on Youtube, so it has to be fairly mainstream and popular. I've also limited one song per an artist or band. Therefore, in actuality, this is Rob's Favorite Poetic Sounding Songs that are available on Youtube. Remember, its just for fun.

I will undoubtably forget some good ones, so I'd like to here your suggestions of songs that I might leave off.

Here are the first two songs on the list:

25. Radiohead: No Surprises
24. Jimmy Hendrix - All Across the Watchtower

Monday, July 6, 2009

Broken Levees

My family and I had a great trip to Missouri over the Independence Day weekend. On Friday I spent most of the day helping the Levee Czar (my father) inspect the levees surrounding about 800 acres of farmland. The levees had broken in several locations and flooded all the land and was inaccessible until just last week. It is amazing how fast the flow of water could erode 20 foot tall piles of soil, that even had large trees growing on it. The levees will eventually be repaired and the land will be used to grow a crop (probably soy beans), although much of the season has already been lost.

In homage, here is one of my favorite songs

When the Levee Breaks by Led Zeppelin

Here is also a short poem I wrote during the trip:

Levee Cracks

The levees were raised
decades ago
from virgin soil.
Maples and oaks
slowly separated
and grew into
the artificial terrain,
fortifying it
but initiating cracks.
Vehicles and weather
also slowly wore
the peaks down
until a 100 year
flood arrived
and pressurized
the aging walls.
The cracks
grew and joined
and the water
bled free
of containment.
The branches and trunks
fell and drifted
to dam
the flexing creek.
-Robert L. Jackson III

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Samual Clemens

I am going to Missouri, the show-me-state, tomorrow with my family, to visit the extended family. It is the land of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Mark Twain is from the state and besides Harry Truman, might be the most famous individual from the state. It is very green and very beautiful. I have many memories of summer trips there fishing in the muddy waters and making mud slides (lot's of mud is found there). In tribute, here are some links to poems and quotes by Mark Twain, who is more of a humorist poet, but a great one.

Twain quotes about poetry

Genius -Humorous (but maybe true!) take on what true genius is.

Here is also one of mine, unfortunately it is more serious...

Under Avalon, Missouri

Gray in the ground,
the fertile fields whistled
on the warmth of a winter
altered and molded
by a family of Avalon.
His dove spoke
in western chords
once to the carved bars
and recently, to a pure
Under Avalon
a steam engine sifts
through harvested grain
and finds the staple
that is often overlooked.
The sky now is opaque
but the stars continue
to pierce and smear,
falling into our ground
after wandering the fields.
-Robert L. Jackson III
From Shedding Layers of Ocean

Friday, June 26, 2009


Just a poem that seems to fit the day.


Many, many shards,
slipping through my skin.
Light glistening on the angles,
each beautiful, each unique.
I can't grasp any of them,
and each try, cuts.
The prism of colors,
reflects as they fall.
More still break off,
and come into reach.
I want them, I think,
but I lie on the brink,
of my own chaos.
The pain, the beauty,
the shards cutting through,
cuts healing and renewing
as they fall on through.
-Robert L. Jackson III

Available in Shedding Layers of Ocean

Thursday, June 25, 2009

First Poem Published (about swimming)

Well, I've been recently reviving or reinventing my poetic side. As part of that I was looking and finding old poems that I published. I came across what is actually the first poem I ever published. I submitted it to Splash Magazine in 1995, which is a magazine about competitive swimming. I used to be a competitive swimmer in high school and college. So I really don't think the poem is one of my best, but it does convey the feeling of competition and swimming. I liken it to a fun summer action movie, rather than a textured and layered drama. I think there is a place for that as fun and humor is an important part of life. As Jimmy once said "If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane." So, I'll stop rambling. Here's the link to a copy of the actual page in the magazine (hopefully it is legible enough to read):

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Poem about Iran and the State of the World

Well, I hardly slept last night. With everything going on in the world I couldn't resist writing my thoughts. I send my prayers to the people of Iran, Korea, the subway victims in Washington D.C. and people everywhere in the world. It appears that green is taking on a symbolic meaning. Here is what I wrote last night:

Green, Red, White and Blue

Beyond all borders,
whether covered
by branches, barricades, bridges,
or by blood,
we are similar
in our primal heart.
When it rains
we often relish
its sparse cleansing drops
until we grow cold
and find shelter
beneath the palms.
Green is the color of growth,
but vines
can tear down
the stone structures
of civilization.
Rather than plead,
let us build
our own palette
and become vivid
within the world
of ant hills and marble palaces,
of bursting forests and soft oceans;
forever finding balance without limits.

-Robert L. Jackson III

Monday, June 22, 2009

Post Number One

Well, I've decided to open myself to the world, or at least my thoughts. I guess I need to provide a brief history about myself. However, before I do I'd like to define the intended scope of this blog. It is mostly for poetry and for discussing poetry, although I might post random thoughts from time to time. You can always easily find more information about me if you really want to, but I am not all that exciting.

I am a professor of mechanical engineering at Auburn University. I teach in this area and also perform research in friction, wear and lubrication. I went to Georgia Tech for all my degrees. I am originally from Florida and am still in love with the ocean and the natural side of the state, which is becoming harder to find. So none of this probably sounds much like the background of someone who writes poetry. However, I have been writing poetry longer than I have been doing research and I actually published poems before I ever published an engineering paper.

Well, that's enough about me. Here is the first poem that I'd like to post:

Hatching Eggs

Shedding layers of ocean
I've revealed my crustaceans.
With time we've had
more to remove,
but also more to remember.
Eroding layers of ocean
I've revealed the earth.
It will take forever
to reconstruct
all that was lost in the slide.
Flaking layers of ocean
from my dry skin,
the bones fossilize,
conditioning themselves
for the next burden.
Filling layers of ocean,
the creatures scurry;
I follow them
down the soft beach
toward the predator filled ocean.
-Robert L. Jackson III

This one also produced the title of my first book that is linked here:
Shedding Layers of Ocean