Sunday, July 13, 2014



Open my ribs and see
how mottled I am
like the torn lace skin
on the arms of a harvester
a pale girl painted brown
with rosethorn scar trim
discolored in whorls
burnt by a sun
blank as the tip
of a lit cigarette.

See my map of stone flowers
grown by woolgathering Julies,
a treasure at X, monsters
breaching and sounding
tiny barques tossing
on a steam sea of slag;
my shattered
pirate land
folded under by heat
upended by storm

stippled gold in the dark
before dawn's pearl tease.

~July 2014

posted for      real toads

Challenge: The Poetry of Claribel Alegria
Grace (everyday amazing) introduces us to the work of Nicaragua-born poet and activist Claribel Alegria. For her story, and several of her excellent poems, see the toads link above. 

Image: Still Life With Two Sunflowers, Vincent Van Gogh
Public domain via



  1. Just about every Spanish-language poet I've read has a certain landed-ness to their work, a deep and fraught sense of place. Dunno if Algeria wrote in English, maybe so, maybe it's just that the mother tongue aches back that far. It's a great proscendium for the finding a place for this poem, locale as psyche, or Psyche's wounded love-terrain. Mottled, as you say, a play of shadow and sun, night and day. It would be wrong to give greater credence to either side of the interface -- life is blessing and bane -- not exactly what anyone would hope for, but neither as bad as 'tis feared. What became of that little girl, how mottled was her eventual history? "Folded under by heat / upended by storm," yes, but "stippled gold in the dark" or what pearl looks like at first light. Yes.

    1. Thanks, B--indeed, I was influenced by Alegria's poem The Rivers here, which was about her home country and its travails;shifting it to the inner terrain, I owe something to your Arcadian Confidential, I feel--secrets, how the past makes and marks the future, and all that, so thanks for your words and their freight, which always seem to sail so easily on that steam sea of slag inside.

  2. I felt like I was peering into a personal rosethorn scar of a pale girl ~ Inside is a deep shattered pirate land ~ Mottled and stippled gold in the dark makes an interesting pattern before dawn's pearl tease ~ Always a pleasure to read your work HW ~

    Thanks for participating with Sunday's challenge & wishing you happy weekend ~

  3. Joy what a beautiful poem ... The two lines that i really loved were "discoloured in whorls burnt by sun" amazing...

  4. great imagery and allusion to support the imagery in the opening section mottled, which is a cool effect, and how you build on it with the lace....the contrast of pale girl brown....i find the map of stone flowers quite fascinating...again the build on with pirates and their treasure...

  5. Woolgathering Julies and the treasure at X....every poem you write has these delights of phrasing in them, ranging from the utterly original to your own (usually dark) twists on the familiar.

  6. Your words offer such a sense of place, more even more powerful are the pairings of your imaginative eyes lending thoughts of our own as we travel line for line.

  7. Glorious with images..........a beautiful write!

  8. Your opening stanza blew me out the water, Hedge. Your short lines are rich in imagery and laden with the most human of emotions, a sense of questing for answers, always wanting to know the why and the how of grief and pain, joy and madness.

  9. Searing and beautiful voice. Without having read the Toads intro to Alegria yet, I could say this is in the Rilkian/Berryman fashion (yet in your own style) of a song for the downtrodden and suffering. The elements and one's connection to the earth here come through as incomparably rich and yet brutal at the same time.

  10. Your opening descriptions were especially compelling I thought--although also all those phrases in the second verse cited by FB--but I found the description of the inside--in terms of the mottled skin--the turning in-out--to be especially powerful, and mottled to echo modeled in a way--sculpted to be scared as it were, especially given the menacing aspect of the lit cigarette. (Agh.) Thanks. k.

  11. PS -- I can fully see that girl's arms--absolutely vivid. (And sad.) Thanks though. k.

  12. The resigned violence of the first line made me gasp... It hurts to see her so exposed and abused.

  13. This has such raw, dark beauty. Powerful piece, Hedge.

  14. we are all mottled, yes? flecks of light and dark, fibonacci embedded in each arm's or faces sworl... ~

  15. Oh my goodness. What a gorgeous flow of words! So visual and tactile. I loved it!

  16. No escaping the darkness here .........

  17. Beautifully haunting. The phrase "map of stone flowers" is growing like rosethorns budding roses in my mind. Cheers!

  18. though i recognized the painting, happy i was right, luv your use of imagery very potent,

    i posted only today

    much love...

  19. …you are always teaching me (and I so slow to learn) sigh.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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