The Landing, by Lizzie Ballagher
No fisherman, he,
though his boat glides below a fishbone moon
suspended in the east behind him,
thin moon that stains a moss-still sea:
soft as silence,
silver as serenity.
Where the bow meets the salted dock
he has come to the place of his slavery
among a barbarous, knotted people:
to cast moon-shadows deep
into the waters of baptism;
to lift instead the lamp of grace, of peace--
so to illumine their hearts.
Murmurous, they descend
the tumbling cliff: twisted, rough
as trunks and earthen roots of trees,
with glances over turned shoulders,
blades whetted at the ready:
to confront a man who comes
with hands empty of all but prayer,
though with a longing for their souls;
one who stands in the shadow
of crucified and hanging sails
who is lit by a radiance brighter
than the fullest moon, the sea, or any star,
ignited with a passion fiercer
than their weapons
or the clamour of their war-mongering;
bearing truth more salt,
more sharp, than dagger blades.
A published novelist between 1984 and 1996 in North America, the UK, Netherlands and Sweden (pen-name Elizabeth Gibson), Lizzie Ballagher now writes poetry rather than fiction. Her work has been featured in a variety of publications, including South-East Walker Magazine, Far East, Nitrogen House, The Ekphrastic Review, Nine Muses, and Poetry Space.
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