Lament Poetry

All posts tagged Lament Poetry


Published December 21, 2013 by rlmcdermott

all hair
and teeth
and bone

she is the
rhythm in
this poem

her days
are numbered

she stops
to slow
them down

the old cowpath
the barrels
the apple tree
the gray porch

her father
coming home
his bones

the men on
the loading dock
calling her name

this is what she remembers

a young girl’s life

danger everywherePostmortem

Mining On The Moon

Published December 4, 2013 by rlmcdermott

On fire in
the afternoon,
a woman
in a shroud
is cleaning
her own skull
of its flesh;
she has
dug herself
up and is
burning in
the bright

Polished bone
is mirroring
back what is
left of her face.
Holes are
no one has
heard her voice
for years.

and buried
now, she
can speak
of return–
tapping bone,
bird song,
hard stone,
and of the
day he came
carring a
small lyre.Eurydice

Le Jardin

Published November 21, 2013 by rlmcdermott

the place was set
but no one came

she waited for an hour
and then she ate
pistachio and pumpkin
chestnuts and white truffles

outside the rain

the waitress was kind
and left her to her pain

the other diners
pretended she
was not alone
and smiled at
the lonely woman
sitting by herself

French restaurants in fall

the opera crowd
with season tickets

the sommelier

the taste of taro on her tongue

the bitter root of love denied

coffee and a sweet dessert

she paid the price

outside the rainLe Jardin

Thief Of Color

Published September 13, 2013 by rlmcdermott

You can
steal my
the pain
is mine;
I earned
the rhymes
with failure
and its bright

Too young
to love;
too old
to be loved–
I loved.

I put ear
to ground
and listened
to the music–
an infra-sound
of beating hearts.

I threw my
gauntlet down
and rushed
into the light
to find myself
alone except
for this small poem.

So take it all
the words,
the images,
the rhymes
but leave
behind the
color, please!

I wear it when
I’m blue and red
and all the leaves
have fallen from
the trees and all
the music’s fled.
The Thief of Color

Waiting For Orpheus

Published September 13, 2013 by rlmcdermott

I waited for someone
who never came–
a woman in black
sitting beneath a paper tree

I saw an old man and his wife
the woman was bent like a harp
he had played her for years
black notes falling from her spine
a song sung over and over until
she disappeared inside her bones

this is the price of love
the fine white powder
of her back scattering
with the white blossoms
falling from the trees
the sap of his bitterness
sealing her fate

this is the garden where I remember my life

blue flowers on a red blouse
the sweet smiles of lost friends
the geometry of an old woman’s back
white cherry blossoms and a stone bench
a little girl who could not be loved
a woman who could not stop loving

the poem in my heart
has no words–it waits
for them like I wait
for you in a Kyoto garden
beneath a painted moonWaiting For Orpheus

Borrowed Time

Published September 10, 2013 by rlmcdermott

this is the
moment that
has been
hunting you

you are left
with only
a pen and
a blank book
to rewrite
your life

the day that
you took two
hundred pills
and laid down to die

where’s the difference
between a soldier with a gun
and you with a vial of pills
you both alter flight

you hear your future
a dangerous cat
padding down the
corridors of it’s
accidental habitat

the rattle of pills
still in your brain
their coated surfaces
dissolving as memory
spills into your periphery

yet you go on
a predator of your
own life sleeping
in the shade of forgiving
trees until sunset when
the wild bird sings and
moonlight enters your dreamsBorrowed Time


Published July 31, 2013 by rlmcdermott

what loves
you chooses
not to come
and so you’ve
lived your
life alone

sitting in
a tree
eating bark
fearful of
the night
and the
dark song

all these
years what
it would be
a man
a woman
a god
but there
was just
the tree

listen are
those footsteps
can you see
someone coming
is that a shadow
or just the moonlight
bending over to
listen to your heart

and that song
so bereft of
melody that
you listen
all night long
it’s like a voice
singing in your ear
of love and death
and the passing
of another yearSegundo

The Salt Doll’s Song

Published July 25, 2013 by rlmcdermott

if the
you love
you down
until you
then love
it from
a distance

the ocean
counts only
the sand
an attrition
that a salt doll

taking the
high road
the blue
beat echoing
slap after slap
flesh on flesh
the sweet
cry of gulls
singing over
the bones
of civilizations
long lost to
the tongue
of memory

the task is
the weaning
away of love
a dissolution
this melting
down of limbs
grain by grain
until only the
taste of you remains.The Salt Doll

Fleeing Aristaeus

Published July 23, 2013 by rlmcdermott

I am
too slowly
to be
and the
my head
has sensed

We are
in this
of syllable
and stress,
a formless
where yellow
into my

I came
here with
the intention
of finding
the moon,
a thing lost
to me, but
found instead
one perfect
brown gaze
fixed on me
from across
a distance
of flesh and bone.

Soon the
will be
the hawk
will retreat,
and I
will be
a woman
who has
a footrace
with a god
and the
of a