Song of the Fisherman

(To Gabriel Okara, our grey seaman)


Aged mariner at the bounteous creek edge

Did you scan perils from the shoreline-

Oceanic fury the size of the Indian Sea?

You who fished the  deep submarine psyche

Of wide Atlantic tides-how do you break

The igneous moods of sea-gods at work

On a new way, silting upon a new wake?

What beauty from waves that bereave?

What atone for pangs of expired cities?

How stem gales eating up the beaches?

Good fortune surrounds us with curious

Scientists and strategists on routine hunt

To prospect volcanic whims of seas

To plant foreknowledge after the grief…




Awaken yourselves from the dismantling storm

Our earth will not die, the grey seaman sings:


The water’s voice in the flame

That cries, in winds that

Bring the wood to sighs,

The child’s cry in trees that quiver, are


Earth and sea mating in grisly tides

Re-craving and recreating themselves.

The sea is dream, the sea is life

And the hurts on its grim brink


Between wills for distances

And wilts of chance

We overwhelm grief and sing

This covenant in bare- footed song.



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SENTINEL POETRY #29, Online Magazine Monthly,  April 2005, ISSN 1479-425X