Posted 01.09.11 in Writing
A young Hawaiian mountain of a man
Taught me to read his whole life on his skin;
With how he loved his wife marked on his breast,
His family tree branched out from hip to shin -
As if the native blood that floods his veins
Had flared in navy ink from toe to chin –
“But never on the back,” he said, and smiled,
“I need to look at you to tell you where I’ve been.”
Postcard showing Hawaiian islands
Clare Pollard says: This is one of my favourite postcard poems. It feels so perfectly formed and whole – the effortless iambic pentameter; the skin/shin/chin rhymes leading to that lovely, subtle half-rhyme on ‘been’. It’s such an arresting central idea – memorable travel stories are so often about encounters with people, and this captures an intimate moment of connection. Some great verbs – the ‘branched out’ family tree leads us to the image of the veins and the flaring ink. And I love the fact he smiles at the end!
This poem was written as part of the poem postcard exchange, see the original challenge!
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