Where the horizon taints the volcanic fumes
There is a freedom even such stillness fiercely exudes;
A lagoon where time seeks its burial verily looms,
But from a distance the boatman only sees the masking blooms.
If time on such an island can bring the end of all wars
Men would seek out its shores crawling on all fours
And though the self-exiled boatman journeys in hopes a-bright
He can find no elation on the threshold of the longed-for sight.
For though time’s course is a river no dam could halt
The boatman realises that time, like the earth, has its fault.
Though the earth shall continue its ebb and flow through the creeping days
There is such a thing as a man’s will for the parting of ways.
Once upon the isles’ feasting shores of beatified stillness,
The boatman smiles pleased with the climes of his new, chosen illness.
His Fate is chained to humanity’s self-deifying flux no more
He shall accept death only now from the hands of the unmoving shore!
The echo of water across shell
Is the fissure of long-voyaging swells;
You boatman, what do you call your freedom
But your own one-man te deum?
Does man cease to exist
When in solitude you persist?
No! But his folly fades from memory
And true peace heralds the false century.
The kingdom that witnessed the dawn of the volcanic age
Now fester in the long-forged mind with pithy rage,
As the island recalls the earth’s sulphuric birth
And its geology seeks hard to forget the great thirst,
So this man, this rupture, strives to forget the impossible Fate
That still, O still, haunts his dreams like the predations of Hate!
Where the south seas sculpt the island a new history
And scaly migrants on rafts daily introduce new, awful mysteries,
There the boatman tries to bury the smouldering lust
That forces back to the surface old loves he would love to mistrust.
‘I am a man!’ He cries where the sea bird flies,
‘I know this to be true for I can’t escape the truth that everything dies.’
To fight against the gales of this soundless torrent of living
Is to acknowledge defeat on terms nature decrees unforgiving;
So as the seasons change and the fury of the volcano thaws
The boatman submits his defeat to the sea’s court of laws,
If he returns, among men, among defeat, among the misery of chaos,
He will learn to extract defeat from the throes of most eminent pathos.
In his absence, the songs if the islands
Rang out, as if he had been
But a pebble in the swell.