“For the Better” by Alan Cohen

Cosmic Revolutionary by Paul Klee (1918) via The Art Institute of Chicago

Who would choose to be Jeanne d’Arc
Dead at 19
Never in love
No private life
Captured by her enemies
Burned at the stake

And yet early
She knew just who she was
And just what to do
Used all her skills
Any reasonable expectation
Changed the world
For the better
Voice of reason

Last night I dreamed
An intelligence
To the earth
Felt it ask
My help
I’ll be here
As long as you need me
I said
Walking along
A deserted road
Late in the day
Late in life
Nothing so clear
Bright, violent
As with Jeanne
Just a transaction
A contract
It seemed to me
Between friends

Alan Cohen’s had his first poem published in the PTA Newsletter at the age of 10. He graduated Farmingdale High School (where he was Poetry Editor of The Bard), Vassar College (with a BA in English) and UC at Davis Medical School.  He was then a Primary Care physician, teacher, and Chief of Primary Care at the VA. He has over the years had letters to the editor in Poetry and The New Yorker and articles in the American and New England Journals of Medicine (and a poem in 1976 in the New England Journal); and has had 140 poems published in 72 venues over the past year.

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