*These Old Bones
February 23, 2011
LLyn De Danaan
With these old bones I cast a shallow net.
I draw no fishes in with my desire.
Yet there were some I caught with perfect set
whose sleek and lissome flesh I would devour.
Let fish be fish and piddle on their way
Let old bones drift and spin another day
Let shadows of regret all drift away.
I saw a mermaid once upon the sea
I drew my barque up near beside her perch
We laughed and danced together on the lee
A false protection for our hours of mirth
My heart strode nimbly through her flowing hair
It galloped gladly far into her lair
I cantered on until I was ensnared.
But wanton play must end with grudging grin
A lapse, harsh word, or sepulchral neglect
A quick and loose regard for skin on skin
Transmorgrified relation: disrespect
So these old bones are happy with canned fish
A dab of mayonnaise satisfies each wish
A caper here and there makes a fine dish.
*Based on and Inspired by a Study of Theodore Roethke’s I Knew a Woman
Under a Venus Sky*
by LLyn De Danaan
I remember her insistent silence
in the rooster dawn
bent with intention against distracting winds,
over vexing words of long dead men.
Her hair, grey as sand, chased random pathways
through the texts, framed her melting cheeks
and still divining brows.
The definition of her life,
a solitary vision–
wild, like her roily hair,
unexpected figures, faces, limbs
appeared on canvas–
called out for recognition
begging to be tamed.
She cast herself to task,
stirred a spell,
and nudged life for them.
*Venus: love, beauty, devotion. Based on and Inspired by a Study of Theodore Elegy for Jane
Palms Would Rather Sleep-in
five thirty, rooster
someone shuffling over tea…
wakened, fronds wrangle
This morning I counted:
Seconds to my balcony
Into cereal bowl
Tsing Tsing’s Father
Waiting three days now
With hungry cows and copra
The boat not here yet
Morning February 16 Huahine
Rain blurred mountain
White terns on rice paper wings
Faré morning market
Ambushed by storm
So much ocean around me…
even rain is salty
Near Maroe Bay
Challenged by legs,
crossing road is pure terror…
crab on upland journey
Bird, too, joins the song
Happy to see the gathering….
Bouquet of children
On that Dark Day*
LLyn De Danaan
On that dark day I rose and went to sea,
I followed clouds reflected on the bay
A clutch of ducks and plovers led the way
through darkling drifts of seeweed and downed trees
A pair of buffleheads and then a gull
lay close beside as we approached the shoal.
Beguiled by hidden dangers I oared on
I begged my entourage to stay with me
But spiney shapes and shadows made them flee
Yet deeper, ever deeper, I was drawn.
The tufted grasses seemed like sentries now
And dragonflies played tricks across my bow
On that dark day I ventured out once more
I’d left the house before a hint of light
I’d been awake and frightened in the night
With tingling sweats and doubts I’d had before.
To hear despair come calling out one’s name
In early hours is something to disclaim.
And so I slammed the door and went to sea
All hope and frantic faith I left behind
I steered a happy course of my design
I had no want, just willing to be free
to search elusive byways where they lead
and paddle to the source of every stream
* Based on and Inspired by Study In a Dark Time by Theodore Roethke
Fête Social Total*
On being evacuated to a mountain in Huahine during a Tsunami warning
March 11, 2011
Like honey, dusk and dawn,
draw us together
on this mountain side.
A lump of food is proffered
and a blessed grace.
We almost party
in this sacred place
where difference means
nothing in the dark.
Prestations from the
beds of pick-up trucks;
beyond all need for meaning
women speak in tongues,
hold forth, prophesy:
subvert our will
A man impersonates
a spirit warrior,
asks if we believe
in someone’s God
Fragments and whisps:
while dogs lie quietly by
*Fait Social Total: after Durkheim…an activity that has implications for the whole society…and through which the whole society can be understood.
Crow Bright Day
Crow bright day:
no leaf untouched.
Tiny drops of sun
tickle every slit tongued
and bellied creature.
LLyn De Danaan
When I snapped her off a bush that day,
in the lane behind my house,
she was bright, dark red, and daring:
a slim hipped salsa dancer, sensuous and winking.
I stuffed her green, slender stem into my hat band.
I sported her around town
though it was a hot summer day.
I displayed her to friends:
Believed she gave me style,
gave me dash and such.
At the time: She’d lived too long, I thought, on that bush in the lane
exposed to mo-ped fumes and ganja smoke
and roosters crowing half the night,
watching other blooms
fade, shrivel, and decay.
After our morning tête-à-tête
and saunter through the town,
I took her home and she
Parts of her were wilted, brown.
Her drooping petals drifted
to polished tile floor.
I was the dumb dame who killed her.
Where could I turn myself in? I wondered.
Was I seen in the act?
I stuck her in a glass of water,
spoke to her, entreated.
But in the end, I tossed her out the door.
That my vanity was murderous hadn’t occurred to me before.
*Based on and inspired by a study of Theodore Roethke’s Roethke The Geranium
Degrees of Light in Huahine*
Llyn De Danaan
You might come here someday on a whim.
Say your life broke down. Your passion’s gone.
Your life’s a mess. You walk the streets
of Faré past the mangos and lagoon fish
dodging scooters and old men
and groups of pale tourists from the cruise ship
Paul Gauguin. You avert
Jehovah’s Witness and the stone fish in the
Your favorite occupation is in finding shells
and gazing at their swirls,
evidence of lives unfolding,
and wondering if your own can be reclaimed.
All feelings pour onto a page
where color, form, and light can still be
found. Or made. And as you paint and ply your
craft the memories of love resolve
into a glaze, a sparkling coat that
will protect this day.
Is this your life you wonder in an empty house
with calls unanswered and he
Is this your life you wonder as you
glide over submerged, encrusted reefs, grey as you are
and celebrate the dappled fish that rise above them.
You long to be as beautiful as they.
- Based on and inspired by a study of Degrees of Grey in Phillipsburg
by Richard Hugo
Meditation on Meeting Nudes on the Beach*
LLyn De Danaan
Deluded is the wench who thinks
It’s fine to strut all in the pink
With breasts exposed and cheeks unrobed
Indeed, without a stitch of clothes.
The horror of the wrinkled thigh
It’s ravaged aspect meets the eye
Though I would quickly look away
I cannot keep my thoughts at bay.
Oh seemly skin that now hangs loose
and sports a road map of abuse
I cherish all the crease and crags
I celebrate the folds and sags
You’ve sweated passions in wild nights
Endured my heated change of life
But I won’t put you on display
My dear, be real, you’ve had your day.
*Based on and inspired by a study of Epidermal Macabre by Theodore Roethke