The Progressive Poem: Who is that Fisherman?

Welcome to the Progressive Poem!

One of the highlights of National Poetry Month for me is participating in Irene Latham’s progressive poem. The poem is a group venture in the month of April, with each poet adding a new line and sending it on its journey. And today the poem has landed here!

Our girl/mermaid has had quite an adventure as she bounced around the internet (look at the sidebar on the right for a complete map of her trip.) She started in a net-less state on the delta, with bare feet, fast hands, wild hair, a mysterious handbag, and a beautiful bracelet. Then after tripping over her tail and slipping in the swamp, she listens to ibises, remembers sage advice from her grandmother, and seizes a paddle. Yesterday, after some spectacular research by Ruth, she looked into the eyes of a startled fisherman in his green pirogue and carrying his crawfish trap. Now what??

Maybe she thinks of escape… Maybe the fisherman will spark a new romance… Maybe he is her missing kin, the link to her mysterious, shape-shifting past…

Maybe I only need to write one line and let others decide the ultimate destination! So here it is:


She lives without a net, walking along the alluvium of the delta.
Shoes swing over her shoulder, on her bare feet stick jeweled flecks of dark mica.

Hands faster than fish swing at the ends of bare brown arms. Her hair flows,
snows in wild wind as she digs in the indigo varnished handbag,

pulls out her grandmother’s oval cuffed bracelet,
strokes the turquoise stones, and steps through the curved doorway.

Tripping on her tail she slips hair first down the slide… splash!
She glides past glossy water hyacinth to shimmer with a school of shad,

listens to the ibises roosting in the trees of the cypress swamp–
an echo of Grandmother’s words, still fresh in her windswept memory.

Born from the oyster, expect the pearl.
Reach for the rainbow reflection on the smallest dewdrop.

The surface glistens, a shadow slips above her head, a paddle dips–
she reaches, seizes. She’s electric energy and turquoise eyes.

Lifted high, she gulps strange air – stares clearly into
Green pirogue, crawfish trap, startled fisherman

with turquoise eyes, twins of her own, riveted on her wrist–

Now it’s Sheila’s turn!

Happy Poetry Friday! Visit Life on the Deckle Edge where Robyn has this week’s round-up.

13 thoughts on “The Progressive Poem: Who is that Fisherman?

  1. Oooh, Buffy–I’m hoping the twin eyes mean that he’s her long-lost somebody who recognizes that bracelet (and maybe that tail)!

  2. Ooh, I love these recurring threads! Who IS this fisherman, indeed! Thank you, Buffy for this wonderful line. xo

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