El Nido Poem

El Nido Poem

I pass
a child in the doorway
her happy shyness
prostituting for my camera.

North.
Bay and winged boats.
People and fish
all caught some released.

Rooster’s bark
echoes off limestone cliffs
and aluminum houses
heralding the morning sun.

Sand
crabs sideways shuffle
dogs hungry trot
people stood
and were born.

Boat

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2 responses to “El Nido Poem

  1. I think the first three stanzas are especially strong, even though they’re very different. The structure of the first lines, whatever abrupt pattern is there, holds them together. Great first lines. There is a slightly uncomfortable dissonance between two sets of stanzas 1&4 and 2&3. The first and fourth endow their characters with volition: “prostituting,” and “stared.” The other two, which I think are slightly stronger, give their volition to the natural world: the rooster’s bark, which “heralds,” and the people caught or released. That said, an ABBA structure is strong, no matter whether it contains rhymes or other patterns. This poem is strong. I want a different last line, though. The “staring” takes me out of the world you create, which is strongly tactile and immediate. Also I wonder what they stare at… My first inclination is to replace “and stared” with something in the passive voice, like “people stood/ and were born.” I like that because of the sense of freshness and awakening in the poem. I also thought, “people stood/ and were left behind.” Let me know what you think about those suggestions.

  2. Hrm interesting comments. I hadn’t noticed the ABBA structure myself. I debated whether to go with “prostituting” or not, since its a strong word in an otherwise unpolitical and … calm? poem. I liked the rooster stanza myself. People stood / and were born is a great suggestion and I’ll make that change. Nice thing about the blog is I can just edit that post and throw in your change. I was most worried about that dissonance that you said you like, so I’m glad that works. I don’t like the left behind suggestion nearly as much as were born. The moment itself was more about the being born, and I rarely like to betray the moment in poetry. Interesting thing that. Even though no one would know the difference if it were “left behind” instead of “were born,” I still feel like it would be less of a poem if only because it would make the poem less than honest.

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