When the end of the world arrives don’t scream.
Be silent. See those grey-white summer clouds
on the horizon line. You’ve not drowned yet. There’s time.
Denied a berth, the ark full of animals and Noah’s family,
the rain relentless, your life a soggy mess, wife and dog
gone to the hills, yet there’s time. Yes, your original plan,
smuggling aboard, working a passage, convincing old Noah
of your indispensable skill set, went when the doors shut
and you slumped against the keel, gazed at the rain shadow
sidling over the plain, felt the vibration of life
as the animals shifted and groaned as if at an abattoir.
Now, you’ve retreated, same path as your family,
up through the valleys, and rushing gorges, rain always,
at the tail of the snake of humanity slithering, falling,
drowning in mud and despair. So you broke off, found that old hill
you knew as a child, sat at the top and waited. The ark,
you knew, would pass by soon, cast you a lifeline,
haul you on board, lay you down in the straw,
warm buffalo breath on the back of your neck.
Except, when it happened, all you saw was black wetness,
all you heard was the watch bell clanging, all you felt
was the end of the world. So you weigh up your options:
make a list: one, learn to fly, two, learn to swim,
three, pray for a miracle, four, pretend it’s a dream.
Five, make a life raft out of things that don’t float
six, practice holding your breath for ever, seven drown
graciously with acceptance and thanks for this life.
Eight, drown angry and raging, with ‘Curse on you god!’
Nine, live this moment in this presence, holy spirit
bursting like a flare, like a sun, like a nebula.
There! You can feel the Ark, sense its rolling and pitching
on the green sea, where the whales croon their song lines,
now and evermore. In the beginning.