The Church Before the Sea

Cut, rigid, in the desert before the sea,
swerves the scar of a bitter ice and the cold,
darkening imprint of time. A lonely old Scots pine
jets off the rock; a feather could break the hold.

Yards before this precipice and never-ending blue
stands the land's only church, basking regal red
as the sun sets into the tormenting sea.
Reminding and virulent in the thoughts of the dead:

this church, their last sight before blinding
darkness and the crushing brutality of nothingness,
harbours only an old man of the godless disposition.
I found his expressions in rank with the staring abyss.

For his crystalline eyes, though tendered by age,
spoke of his insipid past. The horridly trivial wanderings
from past to present expressed a deep depression.
This old man, I am sure, will dig a grave for his own ponderings.

"Why do you not leave this church on the fjord?" asked I
one frost-ridden afternoon. His answer resonates in me still:
"I, despairing of myself, impart hope among these lands," chocked he,
the man, aged by his own enigma. He, the projection of good will,

died but one fortnight later. His funeral, costly and bittersweet,
laid him next to his previously burried ponderingss and the mind
he tortured in the church. That was the day the old Scots pine
fell from the rocks and into the sea. Life is cleverly unkind.

The Church Before the Sea won first place and is published in the resultant anthology, Cat's Cradle, from the Young Writers of Canada association under the Poetry Institute of Canada. "This book is the result of a poetry contest open to youths aged 13 to 18 years. The contest was supported by schools and by parents. The written work within these pages are a selection of the best received from thousands of entries. Many of these unique and expressive works reflect the constant changes in today's society. They also show that competition produces excellence." For more information, please visit Young Writers of Canada.