Haint Blues & other Low Country Poems

Haint Blues

Haint blue is a spectrum of marine blue you see on porch ceilings of coastal South Carolina and Georgia homes to prevent frustrated spirits from coming into your home. Gullah legend says ghosts or “haints” can’t cross water.

I find there is something quaint and
Truly endearing to see how humans learn
History while pulled in a white, horse-drawn
Carriage. The salt-sea air and Spanish moss
Perfume and bedeck crooked-timbered oaks.
Brown leaves rattle down when the wind plays jazz
With the palms and pines. The church bell tolls but
We have our own clocks now. We keep our ghosts
At bay with haint blue: the color of the sea­
Not with four hundred years of gospel we
Used to blind ourselves Byzantine style.
(Which might have been less cruel than what transpired.)
Blindness can spread like yellow fever when
The spell is cast from the bloody ground up:
When the draft horse drums its hooves on cobble,
And cold silver cups sweat with iced bourbon,
The moss sways in the gentle breeze, and the
Marble nymph’s bare breast is exposed to the
Tiny feet of a green lizard seeking
Dainty bites in this elegant Eden.
I drink the fruit of the poisonous tree,
Letting go of my grasp of the fact that
The many who said “Yes!” to their lives made
For millions a world of “No.” Their children’s
Children, whipped by talk of afternoon tea,
Live bemused by quaint news of jubilee.
I too am caught in this spell. Forgive me.
Allegra Jordan, (c)2016.

My Old Dock

Resilience, humility and all those
Other over-rated commodities­–
You can add compassion because that’s what
They bred in me. As I look at the property
Given back to the bank I feel the cold wind
Whip through the marsh grass. It startles a boar.
The tides are low and the mud’s pocked with tracks
Of unchurched creatures great and small. And who
Is to say I left no mark in the mud
Of hearts I touched when I bled money,
And being gutted, filled my husk with life.
Allegra Jordan (c) 2016.


I wish God did not respect my freedom
So much. God would keep me from grasping for
The delicious temptation of “I’m right.”
I feel like such a toad, blinkered in mud
when I bring debate to a dogma fight.

Allegra Jordan, (c) 2016.

Pascal’s Reed

High tide sparkles in over crab-tracked mud.
Warm sun and lavender skies embrace reeds
Soon to find their degrees of freedom cut
To a few inches from the top. Oh snap!
The thinking reed had just been pondering:
“Which am I? The crooked timber of Kant’s
Humanity or the glory of God being
I’m a being fully alive? It’s hard
To say when the tide conspires to test me
Beyond my limits. After all, no man
Is happy on the rack. Watery depths
Have mysteries unseen, only felt. I stand
Between mud and sky: at once in each world.
My love is the only bit at home in both.”

-Allegra Jordan, (c) 2016