27 November, 2006

Gulf Coast

rough draft

Gulf Coast

The wind in the palm leaves
whispers of rain. Not just
of imminence, nor only of memory.
But all: a song of deep green
longing for days where grey
washes blue from the skies.

With rustling fronds they speak
of shaping clouds and conspire,
with rooted will, to seed
them with the idea of water.

Barefooted, listening, basking
in the yellowed blaze; I sink
my toes beneath the moist
flesh of the earth
and am inclined to agree.


LentenStuffe said...


The painter's eye here. Very lush and very vivid. It reminded me of the concluding passages of Conrad's story, Youth:

"And then I saw the Men of the East -- they were looking at me. The whole length of the jetty was full of people. I saw brown, bronze, yellow faces, the black eyes, the glitter, the colour of an Eastern crowd. And all these beings stared without a murmur, without a sigh, without a movement. They stared down at the boats, at the sleeping men who at night had come to them from the sea. Nothing moved. The fronds of palms stood still against the sky. Not a branch stirred along the shore, and the brown roofs of hidden houses peeped through the green foliage, through the big leaves that hung shining and still like leaves forged of heavy metal. This was the East of the ancient navigators, so old, so mysterious, resplendent and sombre, living and unchanged...

Your attention to detail also reminds me of Derek Walcott, who writes with the eye of a painter. You've created a lovely mood in this poem.

BTW, you misspelled "imminence". The lines to seed/them with the idea of water are my favorite.

twiffer said...

yes, yes i did. well, there's one edit to make. [grin]

this is why i have that disclaimer in the blog description.

thanks again for the comments. as for detail, well i tend to write about small things, instead of the "grand themes" (granted, small things can be the key to "big" things, but that's another discussion altogether). so detail is sort of the essence of the poem.

LentenStuffe said...


Here is the motto I live by:

The world is still large, to get to know even a small field is a lifetime's exploartion ...
Patrick Kavanagh

So, I agree wholeheartedly with you. Small is our essence.

Claude Scales said...

When I lived in Tampa (6th grade through college) we had the same weather pattern every day from at least mid-May to late September: morning crisp and clear, with temperature in the low 70s and little humidity; by noon starting to get uncomfortably warm and sticky (men, even partners in fancy law firms, came to work in this season wearing suit pants, short-sleeve button-down shirts and ties, but dispensed with jackets entirely); at 3:30 PM one went outside only in the direst of circumstances, as the temperature and humidity would both be pushing 90; at 4:00 it would start to get cloudy, and at 4:30 you'd hear cracks of thunder and rain would come in sheets until about 5:30, when, having stuck around just long enough to mess up homebound commutes, it would end. Early evening would be clear and cooled by the evaporation of the rain.

Now, this weather pattern seems to have broken down, with droughts often lasting well into the summer, and my mother's lawn, suffering under watering restrictions, looking like it belongs in Tucson.

Your poem, which I like very much, made me think of this.

twiffer said...

hey claude. i wrote this while in cape coral for turkey day. haven't experienced that weather pattern, since we're bright enough not to visit in the summer time (hot enough here anyway). but discussions of floridian weather always tend to make me think of key largo. specfically: "how come it's hotter at night than it is during the day, eh wiseguy?"

glad you enjoyed it.