Stiff work for hands or will, they drove
their brig southward. Science asked them assign
planet and land-mass place where none was known.
Steep from bull kelp’s discrepant ice a live
sail queried Age its reason, while grave
determined speculating boomed like a gun.
Lowbanked, tradition’s values dulled the sun.
Who saw the albatross alone might thrive?
Dead in their reckoning they fished up land.
Harboured, in sounds uneasy in the ghost
centuries bred there, dusky. From what hand
issued, foretelling mocks, a gravid chart?
Bearings show poorly, yet handy for those lost
looking to be saved, who lack an art.
Poised, accident they lived and they lived on.
If shale fell off below, rock massed above
they learned to grip who could not learn to leave.
Miners nuzzled deeper, picked out old bone
but not that stone which might transform a numb
worn nerve to feeling well. Nights watched them prove
land’s freehold runs as far as firelights move.
Further, was fear; yet there was worse to come.
War in the North, snowstorm on the Plains,
islander peoples sickening or near-dead,
scab among flocks,
oh in disaster all
could think to stand, unhealing and unhealed.
Flick through their journals now, though these repel
you, children’s children. A sick will sustains.
Was it a great Deliverer they expected?
because the scene is changed should the next act
be more than difficult?
Who may correct
delinquent nature’s breezy sea, debated
inconsequence given force, not form?
Waves kneel to paw what earlier breakers jetted,
sailor or keel, lawful in bays, where festered
saltwater sorely. Spirit could be outworn,
and was. Thunder, volleying distance, brawled
native energies, pouring off in waste.
Among their hills another autumn failed.
He did not come, untabernacled host,
to cherish them in bushburn or through flood
although they offered for him flesh, and blood.
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Based on Keywords: kelp, shale, harboured, volleying, scab, unhealed, festered, delinquent, freehold, queried, gravid