Island of your words unsaid

On oily doldrum waters, in the speechless sea
a lonely island lies. It’s soil is filled with crosses
and on its craggy shores rotting carcasses
of moored intentions are scattered, spread
There stories never told are feeding vultures
and what’s common sense is dead.

You reach it through the a belt of hurricanes,
through roaring brine and on breaking waves
of good intentions. You reach it after hope
have died and when sleepless sails are torn.
You reach it with a mouth of salt, ambitions
dwindling in relentless sun, your swollen tongue
a useless lump of flesh; when breath is shallow
after days at sea you see its hopeful shore
in indigo, shadow and mirage. Relieved
at first you hope to quench your thirst for truth,
but the island is a corpse, its bones is formed
from bitterness and tears, its marrow mockery,

On its sandy beaches, you can rest marooned
a while, you can lay there listening to words
erupting from the throats of faceless strangers,
you can suffer songs of shipwrecked souls
and when your voice has grown. stronger
you may join the choir — singing senseless syllables.

To the island of your words unsaid,
there is a ship arriving every month,
to feed the stranded lepers food and share
them useless dreams. On flat-screen monitors,
the sailors nourish you with flattery and
seed a sense of what you could have done,
they sooth you with the voices thick
from lovers lost, they bring you letters
wrought from dust in farce of faith.

You stand there being lured to trust,
but just as you are ready to repent, return,
the ship,and hope vanish, and for yet a month in
vain you have to sing the words you never said.

Messenger. Island. by Nicholas Roerich

Today for Open Link Night on dVerse I have done the rare thing to rewrite an earlier poem. This was originally written for a prompt on toads on islands, with mythological and metaphorical aspects.

May 31, 2018

33 responses to “Island of your words unsaid

  1. Great write, Björn, and more than a tad depressing….oh well, I’m off to exercise class now, that’ll shake me up!

  2. Emotional and so moving from beginning to end. I almost gasped when I read your final line: “you have to sing the words you never said”. So glad you shared this again. Beautifully written.

  3. I like that this was reworked for a new prompt. Very interesting. The line ” in the speechless sea a lonely island lies” really set the tone for the piece.

  4. Reworking poetry is always an interesting exercise as we tend to notice things in our own writing that we didn’t see before – it’s as if we are reading a poem for the first time. Sometimes I forget a poem and am surprised when I pick it up again.
    This one is a beauty, Bjorn, from the oily doldrum waters (I love how you’ve taken a plural noun and made it into an adjective’ to the ‘roaring brine and on breaking waves of good intentions’, and the ‘hopeful shore
    in indigo, shadow and mirage’. I also find effective the lines:
    ‘but the island is a corpse, its bones is formed
    from bitterness and tears, its marrow mockery’;
    ‘…when your voice has grown. stronger
    you may join the choir — singing senseless syllables’;
    and
    ‘the ship,and hope vanish, and for yet a month in
    vain you have to sing the words you never said’.

  5. This is incredibly raw, deep and poignant, Bjorn. Especially like; “You can suffer songs of shipwrecked souls and when your voice has grown. stronger you may join the choir — singing senseless syllables.”

  6. “at first you hope to quench your thirst for truth,
    but the island is a corpse, its bones is formed
    from bitterness and tears, its marrow mockery,”

    I’ve read this in its entirety a few times now and I get full stop right here each iteration. This sears deep.

  7. Is this a retelling (and re-writing) of the mythology of the Sirens’ song? That is the image that came to me…that the sailors lured become, themselves, the Sirens.

  8. A dark story, with lush shades of grimness and unhappiness ~ I felt the desolation of being marooned and stuck in the lonely island ~ Fantastic poem Bjorn ~

  9. Lepers stranded, untouchable – how horrific it must have been.
    And the scant hope of returning home, escaping those dreadful bones, an image of what might become, is unimaginable.
    Anna :o]

  10. kaykuala

    You stand there being lured to trust,
    but just as you are ready to repent, return,
    the ship,and hope vanish,

    It is a way of this world. There are elements who hoodwink, out to get something. They spin all the stories to lure unsuspecting folks. Very true Bjorn found in different circumstances

    Hank

  11. Wow, there is such a lot said here and unsaid. The way you write this I can hear Rod Serling narrating it. I have been watching old episodes of the Twilight Zone lately. Great metaphors and imagery!

  12. One time when I was at a funeral dinner, sitting across from several members of the Sons of Norway, I was asked if I had Norwegian blood. I told them, yes, my paternal grandmother was full-blooded. They all agreed that I had some of the features and mannerisms of the Nordic tribes. I asked them which one was most prevalent. They said, people of the North brood well and long. Your poem fits well in that tradition. It’s lovely, really. Brilliant, Björn!

  13. A fun collage of bodiless metaphors and desperate dark hopeless cynicism. The flat screen of virtual pretend connection where words are dumped into island clumps.

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