Commentary Magazine


St. Helena

In the beginning
God, in seven days
The earth and such
Then nothing.
A giant wombed
In the South Atlantic
Thrust his face
Through surface glass
Howled defiant
Words at water
Water water
Died. His mouth
Turned crater, his ears
Whirled the tide in basins
East and West, his nose
Arose a bulbous guide
To mariners. Oh seldom
Such volcanoes
Happen to the earth.
History rushed in.
Discoverer De Nova’s
Ship chomped back
To Portugal, waves
Clapping the way.
The Revolution of the French
Came none too soon,
Napoleon
Right after. He burned
For worlds, was staked
To Helena. He said
“One must admit
The island is very small.”
Death found it on a map,
Too far, too far. Sent
A shrug of loneliness
By British ship, removed
The body to the Invalides.
Geographers agree
The island lists,
Is sinking in the sea.

_____________

 

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