She wept the river that runs to the sea
to bring the fishermen home, says one.

And when, says another, the sun would not rise,
it was she who swallowed the night.

Yes, yes, says a third, the world had grown wicked
and no wind was strong enough to break it.
With one exhale, she cleansed the town,
so the bread of the poor could leaven.

They nod as one, We’ve heard this too,
surely it must be true!

What would we do without her?

Recently, I reviewed and archived all my poems on the Book of Pain. This poem grew out of a discarded portion of a draft for It’s theirs, after all, and paid for. In re-reading that early version, I realized it could stand on its own. I hope you like it…

Thank you for reading Pray. I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain, and as always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph was taken at the Musée de la Mer on the Île Sainte-Marguerite, the largest of the Lérins Islands, just off the coast from Cannes, France. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.


Photograph, poem and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © John Etheridge, The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.


Filed under Poetry

4 responses to “Pray

  1. I love how this could be a fantasy (in the modern sense) or an old story that people really believed in. Maybe future humans will look back on what we believe now and think that we were similarly blurring lines between reality and fiction. Or maybe not, because we don’t have all those neat gods and angels anymore!

    Not sure how it is that I’m not “Following” your blog, but I have just remedied that 🙂 A wonderful poem, John!

    • Something must have glitched at the 123rd floor of WordPress World Domination headquarters, because I cannot imagine that we have been reading each others poetry for years without your ‘following’ my blog. Thank you! I will unfollow yours and then re-follow it in thanks! 🙂

      This poem grew and changed as I wrote it. On the one hand I am exasperated by people who think irrationally; on the other hand I understand and believe in the power of myth. There is just such an awkward transition from the first state to the second…