All posts tagged Life

The Botanist

Published February 14, 2014 by rlmcdermott

the corner
when it saw
her coming
until she
found it
in a field
full of

She knows
their names
better than
she knows
her own–
brown-eyed susan.

They grab
at straws
to keep
alive. Their
days are
bright and
flat and
they roll
them on
their edges.

Deep in
the tall
she can
hear them
a simple
song that
settles on
the wind.The Botanist

Echo’s Song

Published July 18, 2013 by rlmcdermott

all blue is blue
in this sad place

loving you has
not been easy

you were born
to sing and I
was born to listen
to that singing

where’s your voice
now here in this
place of small sounds
and of secrets

what is it that I love
your eyes hidden
your voice unheard
your pale skin yet
to be caressed

it must be the
sadness in your
wild heart the
fearless spirit
in one so afraid
to live apart from
his own story

why did the gods
whisper to me come
into the dark woods
and find his heart

Sweet Narcissus
some of us are never loved
we never know the flower
the moon’s reflection in a still lake
the smell of juniper and jasmineEcho


Published May 8, 2013 by rlmcdermott

into the
she ran
blue girl
blue day

nine nurses burning
on a California bridge


filmed death
on their cell phones
and drove away alive

three women held captive for ten years

no one noticed
everyone cared

I hold my fear
in my hand
like a flower

it blooms
in the bright
light of day

lives that
could have
been so different
if they had not lived
laughing and crying
every minute
every hour
every day

I am not afraid of love
it is afraid of me
it cowers on a San Mateo bridge
in an Ohio basement
women who were loved
stolen from their lives
held captive
set on fire
and made famous
by our curiosity
Flowers in a Vase

The Accident

Published April 25, 2013 by rlmcdermott

It did not belong to her,
it was not her memory;
yet, she remembers the
day–the white church with
the green roof, the sun hot
on her face, her mother and sister
lingering on the church steps,
the priest surrounded by young girls
and then the sound.

They all turned their heads,
one head on one neck,
twisting muscle, grinding bone,
turning, turning toward the sound.

It was before air bags,
before seat belts,
before soft metals
and rubber bumpers–
everything was hard.

It did not belong to her;
it was not her memory;
but she remembers–
the doors snapping open,
three white birds falling
to the ground, the open
mouth of her mother,
the blue eyes of the priest,
the smell of jasmine and incense,
a young girl screaming
and, then, silence.Communion Girl

Hecuba’s Advice To Helen

Published April 10, 2013 by rlmcdermott

As he changed; I changed–
our bodies flattening out
like images on a coin
rubbed thin by a God’s thumb;

That old man, who
once was young,
now seen only as himself–
stooped and graying.

My Priam,
father of two sons,
one faithful,
one foolish,
both Princes of Troy;
soldiers and heroes
all a wife has to give
to a husband
and all a mother
has to give to her
husband’s people–
such are the wages of marriage
and the price of war.

Listen Helen,
if you bear children
pray that they are girls,
not that they should
be exempt from battle,
for women also die in war;
but that they be exempt
from love and give themselves
instead to the gods,
a temple life,
where the marriage bed is unknown
and sons are things that other women bear–
stillborn warriors marching toward
embattled cities as if they were immortal
and made of steelier things than flesh.

Husbands and sons these are a woman’s lot
and, so, it is a joy to grow old
to turn away from the seductions
of a life spent with men.

Yes, an aging husband
in these hard days
is a glorious thing.
Value Paris and hope he lives
beyond the onslaught of this day
and angry Menelaus sitting
cross-legged outside of Troy’s gate. Portrait