Thursday, April 16, 2015

Progressive Poem, Line 16, is Here

Into what?  That's what I want to know.  Our girl walking along the alluvium of the delta turned mermaid has seized a paddle and rises from the water to look into...


"A ninja's maskèd face," texts my daughter, helpfully, from her senior trip.  This is the first year she hasn't been here to give me various suggestions that make me laugh. 

"The abyss," says my husband.  

But no.  She seized a paddle, so I don't see any alternative to my line.  As always when I'm stuck, I looked at lots of photos, and then wrote a line that's a rush of details, what she first sees, all at once, through those turquoise eyes as she's lifted up...




She lives without a net, walking along the alluvium of the delta.
Shoes swing over her shoulder, on her bare feet stick jeweled flecks of dark mica.

Hands faster than fish swing at the ends of bare brown arms. Her hair flows,
snows in wild wind as she digs in the indigo varnished handbag,

pulls out her grandmother’s oval cuffed bracelet,
strokes the turquoise stones, and steps through the curved doorway.

Tripping on her tail she slips hair first down the slide… splash!
She glides past glossy water hyacinth to shimmer with a school of shad,

listens to the ibises roosting in the trees of the cypress swamp–
an echo of Grandmother’s words, still fresh in her windswept memory.

Born from the oyster, expect the pearl.
Reach for the rainbow reflection on the smallest dewdrop.


The surface glistens, a shadow slips above her head, a paddle dips–
she reaches, seizes. She’s electric energy and turquoise eyes.

Lifted high, she gulps strange air - stares clearly into
Green pirogue, crawfish trap, startled fisherman


Here is some of my research:  pirogues, crawfish traps, Louisiana Folklife, and oh you guys, look at this article about rescue in a pirogue.  Overkill for a line that ended up being only six words?  Yes, that's how I roll.

Take it away, Buffy!

12 comments:

LInda Baie said...

So will it be love or flight, Ruth? You've added great details to the story. Love the research you've done. Interesting the paths our minds take us.

Irene Latham said...

Oh I love this! I also love that you used pictures to find your line. Great tool for poets. Thank you, Ruth.

Robyn Hood Black said...

Ha! I'll bet those fisherman were startled. Echoing claps for the research & pix - great links (& rescued kitty story). Let's see what Buffy makes of this Cajun confusion...

Buffy Silverman said...

So glad you added those links, Ruth--wonderful words and pictures. But I have no idea what will happen next.....

Ramona said...

Love that you polled the people around you. When Charles handed me the line with "the indigo varnished handbag" and "grandmother's oval cuffed bracelet", my husband suggested . . . the pawn shop.
I love your six words, so descriptive. I'm off to check out the pirogue link.

Doraine Bennett said...

Isn't it amazing just how much fun this is?! A GREEN pirogue. I love that its' green.

Catherine Johnson said...

Great line! I love that you researched and got suggestions. I wonder what the fishermen will do with her. She might bop them with their paddle.

Margaret Simon said...

A pirogue with a crawfisherman, of course. I can't tell you how exciting it is to have you all traveling down in my neck of the woods. It all makes me want to go out in my canoe in the bayou and search for this intriguing mermaid.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater said...

This line makes me extremely happy for some reason. She is not alone, not in this line....

Carol Varsalona said...

So interesting your approach to your one line-research that led to quite a twist. Since I am not from the south I need to do some research as you pointed out.

Renee LaTulippe said...

Ruth, I went right down your fabulous research rabbit hole! I'm so relieved that Lovey was rescued. :)

Oh, right, the poem...fantastic details! I like the thought process that led to showing us what her turquoise eyes saw, and I'm so glad there's a startled fisherman to keep her company now.

P.S. Your family is hysterical!

Penny Parker Klostermann said...

And the action continues! I can just see the boat! Great job, Ruth!