Jump to content
Poetry Magnum Opus

Lament


Benjamin

Recommended Posts

The seaman's bethel rang a ghostly knell.

An awful sound of truth, from fishing days.

When people filled it's pews and said their prayers,

found comfort in the hymns they knew so well.

I passed the lychgate and the narthex by,

anonymous, to those stood at the door.

And absent for these forty years or more,

my shadowed form held not a single eye.

For I was stranded: on a foreign shore,

with no return to those I'd left behind.

And though I prayed by that black water side,

someone-- to greet me on this homeward tide.

Their souls had flown, like gulls in mist of time,

To vanish with the sun for ever more.

Edited by Benjamin
Link to post
Share on other sites
The seaman's bethel rang a ghostly knell.

An awful sound of truth, from fishing days

When people filled it's pews and said their prayers.

Found comfort in the hymns they knew so well.

I passed the lychgate and the narthex by,

Anonymous, to those stood at the door.

And absent for these forty years or more,

My shadowed form held not a single eye.

For I was stranded: on a foreign shore,

With no return to those I'd left behind.

And though I prayed by that black water side,

Someone-- to greet me on this homeward tide.

Their souls had flown, like gulls in mist of time,

To vanish with the sun, for ever more.

 

The word choice here sets the mood and gives some of us a lesson in ancient religious images. Flawless and to the point of your narrative. It's an eerie feeling I get when I identify with the stranded sailor. Not sure if he's stranded literally or by those who have gone before. The whole of this, and especially the last line evokes thoughts of Mr. Poe of Baltimore. I cannot help saying that, to me only, not a criticism, the capitals at each line start interrupted the flow. Wonderfully crafted and a challenge to the reader. Thank you for sharing a history I'll never be fortunate enough to learn.

I want to say much more, but will savor those thoughts for myself alone.

 

Franklin

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Franklin. My thanks for reading and for your useful comments. This is a piece I wrote some time ago and keep going back to. During my lifime I have seen in England whole industries, towns and communities disappear to 'progress'. Fishing, shipbuilding, textiles, coal mining, steel making, to name but a few. Truly the past for many, really is a different country. Geoff

Edited by Benjamin
Link to post
Share on other sites

I hear what you're saying about the vanishing of entire industries and ways of life, Geoff. We have plenty of that here, too.

 

But this poem speaks more to me. I see in it a person who has somehow set himself apart from his fold and now looks back with a bit of nostalgia, but the fold is mostly gone or no longer recognizable.

 

Very well crafted. I loved it.

 

Tony

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Tony. You are right of course and there is much of myself in this one. The idea stemmed from the chorus of a song I used to sing called The Wandering Soul. "We'll sing to the morning, we'll sing till the bells they sound, we'll sing till the wand'ring soul is found." G.

Edited by Benjamin
Link to post
Share on other sites
Larsen M. Callirhoe

i feel the same way. i feel thye tune. i hear the words in my heart.

 

 

 

victor michael

Larsen M. Callirhoe

Link to post
Share on other sites

Victor.Thankyou for reading and leaving comment.

 

Badge. bethel/lychgate/narthex--- paragraphs could be written about these three words alone.B :icon_sunny:

Link to post
Share on other sites
David W. Parsley

I am new around here. This poem was one that made me want to come in and participate.

 

For me, this captures the pathos of returning to any place after a long absence. It concurrently touches on the experience of regret for things lost for good or ill, with a suspicion leaning to the latter. And of course, as has already been noted by others, I am grateful for a tour of ancient churchography with the atmosphere accompanying. Brings to mind de la Mare's, "The Listeners" - a very good thing.

 

- Dave

Edited by David W. Parsley
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Dave and welcome, I hope you enjoy your time here as much as I have. Thanks for reading and leaving comment. Yes I can see how this has certain parallels with "The Listeners". I look forward to reading your poems. Benjamin. :icon_sunny:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.