Asail for Jamestown, weather struck an evil chord.
Young ones lashed to timbers, screamed in terror.
Women, hands clasped, lay flat rolling with the pitch
prayers heard by gales of wind, sent from hell.
What reef was that below? That jarring impact?
Yesterday’s aquamarine, myriad shades of blue
now boiling black sea wall, impossible to climb
sails reduced to shreds, precious cargo lost.
Legs like spindles flailed in white caps
wide-eyed heads and struggling arms schooled
instinctively to shore, collapsed on sand
knowing not this somewhere land.
Awake at dawn, miraculously all ashore
but up and down the sands, bits of her, everywhere.
She is beyond sail. But we are not.
We are a hearty group, this the royals knew.
There are no Others here. No conversions
or wars divert our attention. We live
amongst fowl and fish of many shapes
and harvest abundant cedar trees.
Birds, unused to four limbed walker-talls,
never learned to fear. And so we pet and grab
and spit, until their raucous calls, cahow cahow,
forshadow their impending doom.
We are users now, building for tomorrow.
Tall cedar limbs bend and crack as they grow less
our hopes grow more. The sails shall rise
and we shall once again, ride atop these seas.
The time has finally come. Farewell this land
your gifts to us immeasurable.
And I wonder as I write, who next
shall see this beautiful isle
beneath the skies that never end.
Photos from Bermuda — the myriad shades of blue! Written for dVerse..Kelly tending bar at dVerse asked us to write a narrative poem, somehow including a bird — in commemoration of Harper Lee’s recent death, author of To Kill A Mockingbird. This is (with some liberty) the story of Bermuda’s discovery — totally by accident. The island was uninhabited when discovered. Sadly, the cedar timbers once so plentiful, are all but gone. And the Cahow, once thought extinct, is now making a comeback with help from naturalists here.