In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams

The Preacher sat upon a rocky hill
Above a cave where waters from the lake
Crashed angrily above the soaring shrill
Of gulls excited by a splashing wake
Of fish caught by the afternoon’s harsh light
Flashed back into the early Fall’s blue sky.

He sat upon the hill, his second sight
Unmoored and wild, and listened as the lie
He’d told himself when struggling to find
The island where his people could be free
Wrapped round reality, the awful bind
Of white men, dark men in the company
Of humankind, their kind, the hunger spun
From dreams once dreamed beneath a noonday sun.

Note: The title paraphrases a line from Pablo Neruda. This is the fourth sonnet in the series I am writing about the black community that existed for a short while on Washington Island off the tip of Door County. It was developed during a workshop led by Ralph Murre.


Filed under poems, Poetry, Thomas Davis

7 responses to “In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams

  1. “..second sight unmoored and wild…” “…the lie wrapped round reality..”
    the sense of epiphany in all this is vivid and heart-wrenching, Thomas. I hope you will eventually post, or otherwise publish, this series of sonnets all together.

    • I’ll have to finish the series first Cynthia. I had my doubts about this poem. I’ve been thinking of doing a series of sonnets that are mixed in with a novel about this community. I’ve done some serious research for the project, but we’ll see. Right at the moment politics are depressing me.

  2. extrasimile

    The interesting thing about this poem and the other one you suggested I read is that the story seems to lie outside it. Already it is a reflection of something that might very profitably be put in the novel you’re thinking of writing. I therefore encourage you to do it. I, for one, would be interested in this colony of black people, living in a sparsely populated land, where it gets cold and colder still.
    The title is brilliant. ‘Unsettled’ indeed. A poem about reflection that is also reflecting. And think how much it would reflect upon our society. Go for it.

    • I think it would be a good novel. It would sell some copies too. Door County is not only a beautiful place, but it is a major midwest tourism area. The question is, do I have the ability to write much of anything right now? I’m as unsettled in retirement as the title of the poem I’m afraid. I really appreciate the encouragement Jim. I think you are an extraordinary poet that is really worth the effort of reading. Thanks so much for this comment. Maybe I’ll be able to write the next sonnet in this series today. I hope so.

      • As you see this comment comes in from the back end of August. I have had a few unsettled months myself, reflected in both a relative lack of creative productivity and also attention to a number of my favourite sites. I do hope you are more at ease than you reported in a comment above back in March. More recently you alluded to doing some challenging writing. The novel you mention here?

  3. I’m up and down, Ben, but working on the novel and the sonnets that go with it. I hope you are well. I am glad you are back online.

    • Yes I am in very good health at the moment, and have been for a while. My relative absence from WP had nothing to do with health issues; I have been reviewing my use of time and also following up on a decision to get away somewhere to see one friend or other each month. I am glad to hear that you are working away on your new novel and trust things are going smoothly. I suppose adapting to “retirement” will take time. It certainly took me a while, and indeed even now I’m not sure I’ll developed a way of living with which I’m comfortable. Haven’t given up on this either though. 🙂

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