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Jack started writing at an early age. This poem, written at age six, is the earliest one of record.

My Grandma
Do I love you Grandma? I’ll say so.
To me you’re all that’s good and grand
There’s not another like you, we all know.
You are the bestest Grandma in the land.
You’re so good and sweet you’re simply fine
You wonderful mother of that wonderful mother of mine.
JACKIE

May 8th 1927 (in different handwriting)



Beginning around age 16, most of Jack's poems focused on the very personal joys, tribulations, strong emotions, attachment, loss, and exuberance of love and its accompanying wonder and complexities. The transient aspect of young love spills over into thoughts of the ever-changing nature of life and the visceral, spiritual, and temporal qualities of being alive, as in these pieces.

Memories
When youth has gone forever,
And old-age stalks my door;
I’ll not let Time dissever
Those mem’ries I adore.
There, without the golden hair
I worshipped to the last,
Alone I’ll sit in memory’s chair
And reconstruct the past.
Your thoughts of me may perish;
My gifts you may not save;
Yet always will I cherish
Each loving glance you gave.
Youth with Age may vanish
But one kind fact is true:
Not even Time can banish
My memories of you.

November, 1939 [age 18]

Transplantation
The city streets have taken the place
Of the country lanes I knew,
And clouds of smoke hang overhead
In a sky that once was blue;
But the heart still beats its steady beat
And none of the hopes are dead,
The soul still dreams of days to come
And the mind still plans ahead:
It makes no difference where he lives
If a man maintains his goal,
And it matter not where he may roam
If he takes along his soul.

October, 1941 [age 20]

Request
When the soft, dark earth has received my bones
Someday
And the sod is returned to its place;
And when the mist of my memory
Dries in your eyes,
Eventually,
Watch closely to see what they place on my grave.
Let them carve what they will
On the cold, gray stone
Which will press with the years on my head,
So long as it is the truth.
Let them say I was good, if they will,
(I really was good sometimes)
Let them say I was bad, if they must,
(Sometimes, I know, I was bad)
But tell them I wasn’t indifferent!
Let that bitter word never be said
About me…..
Don’t let them inscribe a lie.

LOVE FOR THE SETTING SUN
Man can be fickle and vain
And often rejects what he’s won
But no man ever lived who lost
His love for the setting sun.