Island      

 
How far now

Far from the seashore

Annapolis

New London

They disappear

New York

Is not real any more

 

The sea

A land where no one lives

Grey

Or blue

The porpoise dives

The waves continue

 

An in-between place

Harbourless

The ruins cease

Only at the water’s edge

A cold wind

Off the rock face

 

No children here

Only the old

Collecting driftwood for

A funeral pyre

 

On the beach they hawk

Gold

Unwanted

Wedding-rings

And rusted things

To the boatmen who

Coast by

 

Island

So long submerged

Whose broken churches glint

Great wasted oyster-shells

Life that surged

There went

Tolled by the death-watch bells

 

The money they amassed

Instead of love

They stored in tombs

The sea plants

Grow above

Their stunted alabaster homes

 

They went to so many rich places

Before they settled

Down to death

 

At night

The distant sheep

Move in the mist

Among the looted cloisters

Theirs

Are the prayers

In the vast disasters

 

But these sad fisher folk

Are blind

From the smoke

Of their childless dead

Which hovers

All over

The land

Proud

Of their soot-filled fields

The dwarf crop which yields

Such bitter food

 

Fog-bound

They gloom through history

With the wailing horns’

Sorrowful sound

As though the wreck

Were not there

Invisibly

Deck on deck

Of worthless treasure

Unhappiness

Beyond measure

 

So little love

In the winter

Before the spring touches

The cold roses

Back to a kind of life

The frozen sea

Reaches

Into the heart

 

How distant then

Seem the summer breezes

New London

The happy faces

 

But this island passes

Beyond are other places

Ireland

England

A kinder future

As they come together

A new-found land

 

How far now?

Not so far from

The other side

 

The mists are parting

See, there

Like great ships that gather

The angels ride

And the real bells ring

All through the sky

 

It is simply going home -

To die