Archive for the ‘Poems’ Category


I once saw a waterspout safely from shore
On my sub-tropic isle only one mile wide
As I stood near a house with a small crawl space
For to crawl underneath if I needed to hide

Under the cloud that the siphon was feeding
I watched as its ball of spray crossed the sea
A roar of spray about ten meters high
As the spout snaked along, I hoped not to me

Creeping along past my rockbound shore
T’wards Little Cayman some five miles away
The wind blew away the noise of the spout
Though I strained hard to hear that significant day

But clearly I saw the great spire of water
Spiraling, joining the sea and the cloud
And then the phenomenon hard to believe
“There’s a coilspring within the first coil!” I allowed

For as well as a left-handed helix I saw
Another, right-handed, a counter spire
More water rising? I didn’t know
Just that a clear double coil I espied

A true double helix but not DNA
A giant waterspout near the spot where I stood
Transfixed by the scene but sparing a glance
For the stout little house with its posts of ironwood

In the wild I have seen a Whitetail delivering,
Wolverine, Timber Wolf, Giant Sea Fan
Pacific Dolphin, Blue Bird of Paradise
And concentrical spouts in the isles called Cayman

Full disclosure – the photo doesn’t depict the one
in the poem. No camera was on hand. But both occurred
just offshore on the north side of Cayman Brac. jwp

Full Moon Rising Out of the Waves

Full moon rising
Out of the waves
Lighting a path

Frigatebirds circling
Too high in the sky
In the gloom the Brown boobies
Slip home on the sly

Three friends on the path
By the beacon are led
In the light of the moon
To set out their spread

On the rough picnic table
They lay out their cloth
Pickles and salads
And sea breeze so soft

There’s the glow from the moon
On their picnic camp
Count twenty seconds –
Two blinks from the lamp

Then they steal away home
Glancing back at the scene
Cliff, moon and ocean
A vista serene

Cayman Brac

Click to listen “In The Tropic Moonlight”

Poem and music by the blogger; music played by Stella Hui, with thanks.

My Vine-Infested Number Eleven Favorite Mango Tree

My mango tree is not too high
Mangifera in di ca
Brought to us by Captain Bligh
But smothered by Cassytha

C. filiformis –Love Vine (the same)
Or call it Old Man Beard
And look — there’s Star of Bethlehem
Jasminum fluminense I hear

Then Abrus precatorius
On Phyllanthus angustifolius
The first-named one is poisonous
The next — a ghost notorious

The vines climb up on “Shamrock” (“Cow Stick”)
To create a tangled thicket
Tecoma stans grows so quick
Of all these plants most wicked

I’ve shown you four tree-killing vines
One berry, two flow’rs and “licorice”
They’d lack the pow’r my tree to climb
But bush and shrub support the wiss

Uprooting all dese shameless beggars
Ha’d wo’k fe one ol’ man lak mi
To save my one-one degga-degga
Namba ‘leben Mango Tree

jw platts cayman brac cayman islands february 26, 2016

Key (in order of occurrence in the poem)

Mangifera indica* Mango; perhaps from India; arrived via the West Indies
Cassytha filiformis Old-man’s Beard, Old-man Berry etc. “Dodder” in US.
Jasminum fluminense* Star-of-Bethlehem, a night-flowering Jasmine
Abrus precatorius “Licorice” in the Caymans, though seeds are poisonous
Phyllanthus angustifolius Duppy Bush here and in Jamaica, duppy meaning ghost
Tecoma stans Cow-stick, Shamrock, Elder and other funny names
wiss (vines) Withes, a word that has fallen out of common use
Number ‘leben Mango variety; from box #11 on the deck of HMS Bounty

* introduced species

Abrus precatorius, called “Licorice” though the seeds are poisonous

Pollard Bay

Give me a towering limestone cliff
Over a coral shore
Azure waves crashing there
Birds called Man-O-War

Read the rest of Pollard Bay »

The Candlewood Song
(Wild Trees of Cayman Brac)

Ironwood, Fiddlewood, Smokewood, Shakehand
Broadleaf, Calabash, Snakewood, Silver Thatch
Dogwood, Headache Bush, Buttonwood, Bull Hoof
Coconut, Tamarind, Plopnut, Mango

Read the rest of The Candlewood Song
(Wild Trees of Cayman Brac) »


Cycling main road merrily
Dump truck passes carefully
No problem here

Read the rest of DEFORESTATION »

The Old Lighthouse, Cayman Brac

Arrive at last on mountain bike
Or walk from Spot Bay Town
Climb the ladder, contemplate
The blue and green surrounds

Read the rest of The Old Lighthouse, Cayman Brac »

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