Tropical Paradise

Written for Marian and the poets at Real Toads. Our mission was to write about someone stuck in the past; someone who can’t move forward; someone who dwells in what they consider a better time.

Also linking for the first time with Poet’s United for Poet’s Pantry #182.


©Cheryl Strahl

©Cheryl Strahl

Back in the day I was the youngest
in this tropical paradise
what a feeling that was
sitting among the retirees, listening
to their stories thinking I’d have my own
one day, but until then I was content
to bask in my youth, utterly unaware
that it would seem like yesterday

like it does right now. It seems like yesterday
that I was the listener and not the one detailing
my sins to the youngster that I was, like she
still is. She just had a baby for chrissake. All her
friends have infants and toddlers. The retirees are
still here, but not the ones I listened to. They are
long gone, buried, ashes, mist surfing the blue waves.

I tell her stories about how it used to be here
in this tropical paradise
she cannot imagine a jungle without wi-fi
or infrastructure, or marijuana or guns for
protection, of course, she cannot imagine
living like that. I am nostalgic, I tell her,
for the time when swimming pools
and houses bigger than anyone needs
didn’t suck the land dry.
Progress, she says, and
pulls out a breast for her baby.

Her generation, she says and she means her
baby, will fix all the ills, all the wrongs that
our generation and she means mine,
have wrought upon the land. I look at
her unwrinkled, tanned skin, I watch her
baby suck, and I remember all those
long dead stories, and the ghosts who
told them. The young mother smiles at me
and it seems like yesterday.

Thanks for reading!

20 thoughts on “Tropical Paradise

  1. It only seemed like yesterday were the times of living. There were faults but not bad at all for there were innovations and Elvis to savor! The younger generations have to do some corrections on the conflicts though. All the fighting that continues to harass governments need to be resolved. Wonderful write steph!


  2. I really love the pov you started in and that it switched and became human so naturally worked well…the point that is striking is when the young mom is breast-feeding…somethings will never be bettered or one-upped and nature’s milk is one of those. Well done!

  3. oooh, yes, awesome. i am pondering the thought that our children’s generation will be able to fix what we fucked up… i tend to think they will pay for it, in horrors, with no chance of repair. this is a really interesting slice of life and thought, i like it a lot.

  4. This is such a well-conceived poetic piece – the story is so strong, but the theme is never compromised in the telling. Whatever the jungle, it must always be inherited by the next generation, who will in turn grow old. You balanced the retrospective intro with your vision of a possible future for the suckling baby and we can all relate to the moment you have shared.

  5. Your loop from past to present to future to past gives the poem the strength of a wheel, always turning, always the same…I especially loved ‘… mist surfing the blue waves….’ You made me think that perhaps the only paradise that exists is in the mind of those too young to bite the apple.

  6. Oh wow, what a feast of a poem. Yes, how it all flies by, and how oblivious each succeeding younger generation is to all that there is still left for them to learn. I do hope SOME generation begins to heal the ills. Someone has to pretty darn quick! Loved this poem. Very much. A terrific write.

  7. Generations ahead behind and between. Time doesn’t really accelerate. It’s only the perception because increments of time are becoming less and less a proportion of the whole thus far. As experience expands so do the memories thereof.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s