Poem of the day

The Old Fisherman
by Robert Huntington (1958-)

Once an old fisherman dwelt by the ocean
   Remote where few men might see,
Early each dawn with cautious devotion
   He’d put his dory to sea.

He fishes over the sunken ledges
   And always patiently
He lets his line out, waits and pledges
   Fidelity to the sea.

He reclines unmindful of the slaughter
   Endemic upon the land;
One hand on the line, one dipped in the water
   As if to hold its hand.

And after long hours when his gaze (like his boat) is
   Fixed on the changing sea’s gray,
The neap tide ebbs from beneath his notice,
   Silently slipping away.

And all at once he finds himself stranded
   On a ledge wind-swept and bleak,
But his simple thoughts remain guileless and candid;
   He takes in the line and speaks:

“As I, O Sea, am your wave-worn minion
   (Likewise this shelterless stone),
You too are under another’s dominion;
   By the moon’s decree you lie prone.”

He spends the night awake on his prison
   And endures the cold without shock;
By daybreak the waters have rearisen
   And again he’s released from his rock.

One imagines him in a strange vision
   At the end of earth’s given span,
Inattentive to apocalyptic fission;
   The last judgment of God or man.

As the solitary exile once viewed it
   While, watching the triremes pass by
His lonely Aegean island, he brooded,
   Of a sudden the sea burns dry.

And again he sits on his rock forsaken
   Without cursing his current state
Whose duration he can not know, but unshaken
   He just takes in the line and waits.

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