A Prophet Arrives on Washington Island

A French Sonnet

by Thomas Davis

The old black man, eyes bright as noonday sun,
Splashed from the wooden boat onto the shore.
He lifted up his voice, the waves Death’s Door
Whipped white behind him, praised the blessed Son
Of God and New Jerusalem and spun
Around, his arms held high, a troubadour
Of his escape from slavery and war
To wilderness, the role of sacristan
To fisherman and men and women freed
From whips and masters and slaver’s creed
Of dominance designed to pinch the soul
And void the human spirit’s vital flame.

“Praise God!” the prophet said, the roll
Of waves against his feet. “Praise God’s sweet name!”


Filed under poems, Poetry, Thomas Davis

5 responses to “A Prophet Arrives on Washington Island

  1. You have an award!


    I’ll be back later (though probably not later today) to say more about this fine sonnet.

    I know you don’t “do” awards, but this one’s about dragons and I failed to resist. Frequently thinking fondly of you, Thomas. 🙂

    • Ben, I’ve been ignoring everybody on wordpress. I’ve got to send you an email. Thanks for the award, though I don’t do awards, as you know. You are a great man, though.

      • Yes I remembered that you don’t do awards. I usually don’t do them myself either But sometimes one will take my fancy. 🙂 And as this is about dragons …

        I am behind with several of the sites I frequent, paradoxically some of those I most enjoy because they are often the ones that I will spend more time on; cogitating and trying to construct a meaningful comment. I have always had the habit of leaving the best stuff till last, whether food or other things give me pleasure. Also, WordPress can easily invade my day and prevent me doing all kinds of other things that demand my time. For example, I am making little progress in compiling a book of poems for possible publication.

        Expect to see more of me at fourwindowspress some time soon, or that is the plan.

  2. Unpinching the soul seems a worthwhile activity, unless it be to awaken it when it has fallen asleep.

  3. This is a true picture of elation, gratitude, and arrival! As always with your work, the traditional form is impeccable, and here the enjambment of your lines is fortuitous….it makes the poem roll along, almost breathless with excitement, and resonates with that dash and roll of the waves. I very much enjoyed this one, Thomas!

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