My Island

My island is not really my island, but for the short period of time I lived there as a teen, I fell in love with the rather small rock in the middle of the Caribbean, and I’ve never forgotten St. Croix. Right now, she is being battered by the winds and rain of Hurricane Maria, and I have been and continue to pray that loss of life will be zero, and there will be some sort of miracle as far as damage goes.

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It was on St. Croix that I first experienced that painful ache of viewing something of indescribable beauty, and the overwhelming desire to record it and remember it as best I could. It was on St. Croix that I really started flexing my poetry muscles with any sense of satisfaction. Keep in mind, what I share below was written by a fifteen year old teenager. At the time I thought it was pretty awesome. And now as I wait for news, as I wait for answers to my prayers, I read these words written almost forty years ago and remember.


Twilight Sea

Silver moonlight,

Diamonds scattered

By a careless hand

Across the waters.

Cool winds,

Scents of hibiscus,

Ginger thomas.

Peaceful winds,

Quiet shadows,

Gently moving palms,

Swaying flamboyant trees.

Cool winds,

Peaceful winds, 

Bring the spirit 

Of a twilight sea.

(1979)


Turquoise in Portrait

The ocean:

A turquoise stone

Melted into fluid motion,

Waves capped with

Ivory froth,

Ivory that is swallowed 

By the turquoise sea

And comes forth

On the next wave,

Undaunted.

(1979)


The Lonely Ruin

Turquoise, sky blue, deep purple

Blended together in a velvet sea

Washing golden white sands.

Long, stony road

Through tangled vines and

Tall mahogany trees of an ancient rain forest.

Clearing in the forest —

Ragged, crumbling vine covered walls,

Hundreds of years having stood.

Silent ghosts roam the halls

Open to the skies.

Gentle rains wet the floors

That have known the tread 

Of the elite dwellers 

Of a bygone day.

Worn path leading away

Through hibiscus and sea grape tree

To a rocky, jagged cliff.

Below,

Turquoise, sky blue, deep purple

Blended together in a velvet sea

Washing rocky, jagged shores.

(1979)


Tuning into Memories

Every song brings back

The memories of a distant age,

Where life held no requirements 

On the spirit.

In my ear’s memory, I hear

The fading strains

Of our favorite band, Styx,

And the delicate taste of

Orange Lipton tea still lingers

On my tongue, while the

Click of backgammon die

Quietly punctuates the

Heavy heartbeat of the “Renegade.”

Those were such fine days,

The sun streaming down on

Your pale green shag;

I stretched like a sleepy Siamese,

And you accused me of

Laziness.

We raced down the hill to the courts

To play a game of one-on-one,

While Dennis and Dave sat in the red Datsun,

Feet on dashboard,

Ears keenly attuned to Pink Floyd dreams.

Sweat beads formed on your lip,

And I asked if you wanted a Coke.

As we walked toward the rec hall

Beneath the sea grape trees,

A breeze smelling of salt

Cooled us and made us long for Cane Bay.

(1980)

 

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