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In the Shade of Coco de Mer

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Shipwrecked on the remote Praslin Island
somewhere in the heart of the Indian Ocean
we do what we can do just to survive here
Moral is low old lives quickly abandoned

We make our home in the Vallee de Mai
Such a lush garden has never been seen
Soil so rich that anything will grow here
The island teems with exotic animals

In forgotten England, I was a professor
In discovered paradise, I am a primate
I abandon all religion and philosophy
I
am
now
an animal at home/at one with Nature

In the shade of Coco de Mer, we live
The tree is older than we care to guess
The tree will no doubt outlast us all
The tree is generous with its secrets

The female fruit has a curvaceous shape
The male fruit boasts a phallic protrusion
Both fruits grow from the very same tree
The Tree of Life has now enchanted us all

Am I to be fertilizer for its longevity?
Am I merely passing through this valley?
Am I never to leave this tropical Eden?
Am I mad for etching this outlandish tale?

What am I to do?
Why am I here?
What is my ultimate destiny?

I can abstain no longer
I eagerly taste the fruit
For my body requires nourishment
and I have an unquenchable thirst
for knowledge

Comments (6)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Eric! It's been a few months but I'm glad to see a new piece from you. This poem seems different from your others that I've read. I will say that the "fruit of knowledge" metaphor is fairly common but you dress it uncommonly. I like this poem and...

Eric! It's been a few months but I'm glad to see a new piece from you. This poem seems different from your others that I've read. I will say that the "fruit of knowledge" metaphor is fairly common but you dress it uncommonly. I like this poem and I'll bet that there is an interesting story behind it.

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Thank you, Joshua. I was transfixed by a story about the coco de mer tree. It does indeed produce both a male and a female fruit. Troubadors cross the Indian Ocean to Praslin Island to be near the trees and eat of its fruit. Early European...

Thank you, Joshua. I was transfixed by a story about the coco de mer tree. It does indeed produce both a male and a female fruit. Troubadors cross the Indian Ocean to Praslin Island to be near the trees and eat of its fruit. Early European explorers dubbed the valley where the trees reside "hidden Eden." I love the site and magazine. Thank you for reading my work, my friend.

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Eric, I must say that Joshua wasn't the only one that noticed your absence from Hennen's. Nice to see this allegorical verse from you. The piece speaks directly to what it intends, avoiding the verbal ambiguity of hubristic elitism.

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Thank you, Alberto. It's good to be back. I've been meaning to post something for months now. I felt that this piece was a different flavor than I usually serve up from my literary kitchen. I might add that your work on your blog has been...

Thank you, Alberto. It's good to be back. I've been meaning to post something for months now. I felt that this piece was a different flavor than I usually serve up from my literary kitchen. I might add that your work on your blog has been inspiring, bold, and--dare I say it--even endearing.

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Lovely piece! Glad to see you!

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Thank you so much, wickedwahine. It turned out much better than I thought it would.

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