Lorraine Caputo – Five Poems


Isla Alacrán

High tide leaps
over the northwest point
of Scorpion Island

& pools in hollows of barnacled rock
carved by wind & wave,
covered by a seaweed lea

An oystercatcher, a whimbrel
& plovers peck at
stranded mollusks

& flee from the spray
of glistening waves leaping
into the late-morn sun

Within This Obscure Dawn

Before dawn, before the first
cock’s crow
silent lightning
slices the dark sky

the metallic hum
of cicadas rises
& finally
thunder grumbles
across the marshes

within this
obscure dawn
a pallid light
tears the rain-
menacing clouds

within this
obscure dawn
a rainbow
the thunder, then
a few weak drops

day arrives grey
the thunder tumbles
off to a further


(Standing Five Elements)

Fiery magma
slinking beneath
thin plates
erupting, forming
this ancient isle
erupting, forming
islands to the west
where the sun yet
erupts in that fissure
between day & dusk

& we scoop the waters
from the sea
its tide rising
spraying high
over black lava boulders
over black iguanas crawling
back to depths…
& let it flow over
our calming spirits

Rough sand pebbled
with small shells, fragments
of white coral, deep
purple sea urchin spines
crunching beneath our bare
feet sinking into this earth
hands rising like
fair maidens working
a shuttle, weaving
the day to a close

Upright like a strong tree
scalesia, opuntia or
candelaria—of mangrove
rooting into marshen shores—
peering through the branches
of our fingers
twisting trunks in the breeze
that is coming
with this evening

Our hands push
olivine, basalt, plagioclase
metal flakes shimmering
& scoop their energy
bringing it forward again
peridotite, pyroxene
metal flakes shimmering
in the fire of this
sunset & that magma
beneath thin plates


The bluff comes to the sea
its fossil shells
loosening, mixing
with the shells of this present

to become the future sands
of this beach, lapped by
that eternal sea

Traversing The Night

Through this gathering dusk I traverse,
the mountains darkening,
the clouds in heaps of greys,
colors of sunset lost to the twilight,
chickens already roosted in a tree
behind a raw adobe home,
a window golden with light within.

I am slipping away in the coming night,
leaving behind that village, its clouds
swirling around peaks, through valleys,
around ancient, silent ruins.

A silence within –
no tears, no farewells –
only the golden light
of these words bubbling, welling.

& into the completed night I traverse,
my road overhung with rock bluffs
fracturing beneath jungle,
beneath bromeliads, beneath
orchids, beneath the tangled
tendrils of some vine
swaying in the chill.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Beauty surrounds us. It is in the first crocus against a bed of soft snow, a blue morpho butterfly fluttering through the jungle growth, polychrome mountains against a cloudless sky. It is beyond the visual, also – the chanting of a predawn procession, fresh-baked bread on a Sunday morning, the burst of a ripe strawberry as you bite into it, an embrace … Even in the most horrifying of images – flames leaping above the steam of steel plant smokestacks at night, those “imps of darkness” that are marine iguanas, a parent holding a child in the midst of smoldering ruins, the aroma of fresh-squeezed oranges above the city’s pollution – a spot of beauty exists.

But too often we get caught up in the mundaneness, the ugliness of daily life, turning off and tuning out those spots of beauty that surrounds us.

At times I STOP that world. But it is much more than the old saying, “Stop and smell the roses.” It is a time, a moment to re-merge with Nature, to become one again with her – to remember our interconnectedness with All Our Relations. To remember that we are a part of Nature – not apart from her. To remember the beauty that lies inherently in each and every one of us.

We must not fall prey to hopelessness, especially in these times. We must hold on to the beauty – open not only our eyes, but our ears, nose and touch, our hearts to this world’s beauty. We must learn and relearn our interconnectedness, as humans and as a part of the intricate web of Life, so that we may create a world where the ugliness and hatred of this present world seemingly careening to destruction does not destroy our Selves and this planet we call Home.


Lorraine Caputo is a documentary poet, translator and travel writer. Her works appear in over 100 journals on six continents, such as Prairie Schooner (US), Cordite Poetry Review (Australia) and Bakwa (Cameroon); 11 chapbooks of poetry – including Caribbean Nights (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2014) and her new collection Notes from the Patagonia (dancing girl press, 2017), five audio recordings and 17 anthologies. She also pens travel pieces appearing in anthologies and travel guidebooks. In March 2011, the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada chose her verse as poem of the month. She has done over 200 literary readings, from Alaska to the Patagonia. For the past decade, Ms Caputo has been journeying through Latin America, listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth.