Sunken Island


Leaving, we took the path
of least resistance, paved and prone to floods;
returning now, we tramp through mud
to lawns awash with silt.
The walls we never mended here,
the banks we never built,

have left us bare. The life
once tended here, its honed and hard-won peace,
these currents with relentless ease
uproot; by tide and gale
their dirgeful, darkly rising mass
makes light of human scale.

We come, beyond the veil,
to see at last the dire state we’re in;
and hear, above the deluge-din,
how ancient chimes are raised,
parochial claims now calling time
on these unsettled ways.

We used to know, they say,
how to withstand as one the surge and flak,
to hold our own and others’ backs
and face the charging rain;
yet now, with levels rising fast,
we need to learn again.

Daniel Gustafsson

Daniel Gustafsson has published collections of poetry in both English and Swedish. A new pamphlet, Fordings, was published earlier this year by Marble Poetry. Swedish, Anglophile, Eastern Orthodox, with a special interest in William Blake and alliterative verse, Daniel also has a PhD in Philosophy from the University of York. He lives in York.

'Sunken Island' has 1 comment

  1. October 19, 2020 @ 10:19 am Cynthia Erlandson

    Daniel, I am impressed by both the profundity and the originality of this poem. I think it addresses subtly, but clearly, the pathetic state we are in, and how we brought ourselves to it through neglect. I love the phrase “deluge-din”. The rhyme scheme and metric pattern are both very creative.


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