My body, woodenly askew

I will never get you put together entirely,
Water oak. Not pieced, nor properly jointed;
Leaved, hunched over, with twisted branches
Proceeding from your great trunk.
You are worse than Dutch elm disease.

Perhaps you consider yourself stately,
Nesting for the mysterious marbled murrelet,
Or some other feathered friend.
Forty years now I have labored
To dredge the sap from your roots,

I am none the wiser. Scaling little crags with
Pots of salt and pails of waves;
I crawl like a slug in mourning
Over the seaweed acres of my brow
To mend the bark plates and clear the aging
White pupils of your eyes.

A gray sky out of the Tuath De’
Arches above us. O goddess, all by yourself
You are as beautiful and ancient as Irish mythology.
I open my waves in a depth of black water.
Your fluted arms and golden hair are littered

In their old deities to the moons horizon line.
It would take more than thunder and lightning
To create such a travesty on a dying water oak.
Twilight, I squat in the basket
Of your ear, out of the sea wind,

Counting the silhouettes of stars and moonlight;
The sun will rise under the lip of your mouth,
Twined to a water oak’s aging limbs like ivy;
Cries the oak, its hours are shadowed to an end
On the wet stones of my landing.

My body, woodenly askew

45 comments on “My body, woodenly askew

  1. Amazing! I especially loved this little line, “Pots of salt and pails of waves;” You have a special command of words…at your beckon call.

  2. Barbara Kasey Smith says:

    Truly Beautiful & full of remarkable images, caused this reader’s mind to wonder! Barb:)

  3. rabirius says:

    I really like it a lot.

  4. This is an excellent piece indeed.

  5. Marvellous. The imagery is wonderful.

  6. Mary Mangee says:

    Such a beautifully written poem. I love it.

  7. You have a very well developed and distinctive style. Are you writing strictly free verse in your poems, or are you following some type of pattern?

  8. Baydreamer says:

    Amazing way with words, Lance. Wonderful poem!

  9. what beautiful words you write dear man.
    have a fine day feeling the Earth and sky.

  10. Taruna says:

    In rapturous standstill!!
    Your words cause silent breathlessness… truly beautiful🙏

  11. You are sincerely welcome!

  12. almerighi says:

    Il mio corpo, in legno di traverso
    da lanceheridan
    Non ti farò mai mettere insieme completamente,
    rovere d’acqua. Non assemblato, né correttamente articolato;
    Lasciando, curvo, con rami contorti,
    procede dal tuo grande tronco.
    Sei peggio della malattia olandese degli olmi.

    Forse ti consideri maestoso,
    Nesting per la misteriosa murrelet marmorizzata,
    o qualche altro amico piumato.
    Ho lavorato
    per quarant’anni a dragare la linfa dalle tue radici,

    Non ne sono il più saggio. Scalare piccole rocce con
    vasi di sale e secchi di onde;
    Striscio come una lumaca in segno di lutto
    Sopra le alghe della mia fronte
    Per riparare i piatti di corteccia e pulire le
    pupille bianche che invecchiano dei tuoi occhi.

    Un cielo grigio fuori dal Tuath De ‘
    Arches sopra di noi. O dea, tutto da solo
    sei bella e antica come la mitologia irlandese.
    Apro le mie onde in una profondità di acqua nera.
    Le tue braccia scanalate e capelli d’oro sono sparpagliati

    Nelle loro vecchie divinità verso la linea dell’orizzonte delle lune.
    Ci vorrebbero più di tuoni e fulmini
    per creare una simile parodia su una quercia morente.
    Crepuscolo, mi accovaccio nel cesto
    del tuo orecchio, fuori dal vento del mare,

    Contando le sagome delle stelle e della luna;
    Il sole sorgerà sotto il labbro della tua bocca,
    attorcigliato alle foglie che invecchiano come l’edera;
    Piange la quercia, le sue ore sono in ombra alla fine
    Sulle pietre bagnate del mio sbarco.

    wonderful poem Lance

  13. ortensia says:

    I am absolutely speechless in front of this piece.
    How beautiful and intriguing ❤️

  14. Ortensia, yes. Thank you so sincerely. As I do yours. I completely understand. Very much appreciated when you can.

  15. This is amazing Lance. Well written

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