A part of us lives
behind a moat of bone;
it sculls about
our skulls,
on the look-out.

So defended.  Even when it feels it’s been
a pawn, it’s certain it secretly harbors
the queen or king,
of everything.

How lucky that in this bateau ivre
this row of self-deceiving,
we have a skin,
a wall easily pierced
by all’s awl.

How lucky that we have
these isthmuses of
lips, mouth, tips,
of nerve ends;
for it’s the outside that keeps us

for me–the sage
of this minute’s coolish breeze, the frisson
beneath my sleeves,
the warmth of you,
the ripples of the chest
that rises, falls.


Another drafty poem for my own prompt on Real Toads, relating to John Donne’s “no man is an island.” 

Bateau Ivre worked its way in their somehow–it means “drunken boat” in French and is the title of a poem by French poet Arthur Rimbeaud: in the poem, according to Wikipedia, the boat tells of becoming filled with water, thus drunk.

The pic is mine; all rights reserved. 

PS the end of this was edited just before first posting, now edited again to move back to the original–agh. 

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23 Comments on “Moat”

  1. The outside keeps us centered – stellar. I also love the moat of bone.

  2. lynn__ Says:

    I like how “it sculls about our skulls” and by “all’s awl”…clever, K!

  3. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) Says:

    for it’s the outside that keeps us

    a wise insight!

  4. Sanaa Says:

    This is so intriguing and well measured up to the last verse 🙂
    Loved it..! Hats off 😀

  5. hedgewitch Says:

    The bone moat and the drunken boat work well together, as if by absorption more than intent we finally know…lovely word play in this k, the sage/brush and the rippling chest, and a very vivid metaphor.

  6. ZQ Says:

    Intriguing piece.

  7. I love your fourth stanza.

  8. whimsygizmo Says:

    This little bit is just genius:
    “it sculls about
    our skulls”

  9. X Says:

    Perhaps it is what we allow outside the walls, outside the portection that does keep us centered. I guess it comes down to how honest we are with it, you know. That is the thing about the hedges and protections, what protects us can also isolate us.

  10. Jim Says:

    Nice, K.
    You know, we hardly know the inside. 🙂
    Like a car, what we see is what we like.
    A few look under the hood, that can be pretty too.
    It’s a priority of the senses thing.
    Looking must stop on the outside, feeling goes inward as well.

  11. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    Your opening image is brilliant and any poem which contains the word ‘isthmuses’ gets a thumbs up from me.

  12. Susan Says:

    Everything moves in waves here–boats and skulls especially, but also the inside that so needs defense and gateways! I would love to see a video made of these images. Love.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      When I try to go to the site (except from Toads), it tells me that it may be a phishing site and that it is dangerous. k.

      On Tue, May 19, 2015 at 1:12 PM, ManicDDaily wrote:


  13. I love the bateau ivre bit. I knew what it was but for some reason it made no sense. Thanks for the explanation and the reference.

    Greetings from London.

  14. C.C. Says:

    “A part of us lives behind a moat of bone”—and this stunning line starts off a splendidly creative metaphor that you honed beautifully throughout the entire piece. I LOVE this 🙂

  15. Jamie Dedes Says:

    There is so much in this, k. Wow! “moat of bone” “bateau ivre” “isthmuses of lips, mouth ….” and quite a bit to think about. The drawing is different from your usual, perfect to go with this poem and well done. What an altogether fine post.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks so much, Jamie. It is a picture that I made on the iPad, so I tend to use a much more defined line; as you can trace and change and completely delete. It also allows for a lot of layering. It’s a great app–called Brushes.

      It’s quite wonderful what one can do on the iPad and it does allow more consistency as you can copy and modify–but it is much harder — for me at least–to really do free-style drawing on it.

      Hope all is well, and that you are not too affected by the drought.


      On Sat, May 23, 2015 at 8:35 AM, ManicDDaily wrote:


      • Jamie Dedes Says:

        Well, now I am even more impressed, knowing you did it in iPad. I’ll have to look into “Brushes.” Sounds fun. Thanks, .k.

      • ManicDdaily Says:

        It’s a great app. Not very expensive–maybe 4 or 5 dollars and fairly intuitive. It takes a little while to understand how the layers work–but they are very nice as you can work on different levels and easily delete or heighten something that you like without messing up the whole thing. I haven’t been using it much lately as my iPad is rather old and completely full of stuff, but it is just a great app. I think the English painter–Hodgkin uses it. k.

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