Alan Cohen







A scale

A ruler

A filter






A record

A jury

A blade



How We Change



We have driven from winery to winery

Along the Silverado trail

This one, Steltzner, is built next to a hill


Each has had its garden

And this time, carefully

We examine each plant


They are mature, fully grown

And we call each by a name

Rosemary, bramble rose, nanten, manzanita


They are not new but are

Different in this climate

As are we


Not the people we were

In Illinois, Connecticut, Massachusetts

The plants began as children


And are not the same, grown

To tell their story, ours

You must ignore, paint over


The fact that we are not

What, or who, we once were

When it, when we, began


And we are here

On vacation

Transparent, colorless


No emotion suffusing

Our inscapes

Painting us anxious or angry or triumphant


Changing what you see

Tell about

With your then and then and then


We are not coherent; float

From flower to fate to dream

Lifting weights, crossing streams


California Hills



In the viewing of the California hills

There’s mist and haze and smog

The light itself

The angle at which it falls

It’s intensity

The season

Dry or rainy

Trees on the slopes or not

The range of vegetation

How far they are from us

That help determine

Whether we see something sharp and clear and blue

Or white and ethereal

Miracle or mirage

Whether we see at all

Complex and subtle as men they are

The hills

As changeable as reliable

Foreign, hard






November 13



8:30, Santa Clara Marriott, 8th floor

Bright sun, dusty blue hills

Over them a few horizon clouds

Down below, someone swimming laps

Another someone emerging from the whirlpool

Palm trees dancing

Shifting rings on the blue floor of the pool

Yesterday, snow in Massachusetts

But here, the benediction

Cool breeze, sunlight, flowers, butterflies

For someone who remembers long winters

Like the magic of pain gone, flight, morning




Alan Cohen/Poet first/Then primary care physician, teacher, manager/Living a full varied life

To optimize time and influence/Deferred publication, wrote/Averaged 3 poems a month/For 60 years/Beginning now to share some of my discoveries

Married to Anita 40 years/in Eugene, OR these past 10