26 NOVEMBER 1965, Page 28

Pelorus Jack

To M. Abbott, RN (Reid.) An Abraham with a crystal jaw Told me your story, and awoke You in the streaming grave. I saw You lift your wild head as he spoke.

You were the crewmen's dazzling boy Who turned from life his wounded head; Whom death with warm, uncasual eye Nudged gently from his single bed.

I saw the eager, anxious crew, The grumbling cliffs on either hand Where the sea-channel slowly drew Its snake of water through the sand.

Black flames of dark burned down the day, The moon's gold pleasure-wheel was gone, When from the hollows of the sea A figure rose and led them on.

Through the thin waters of the strait It swam, with fins of fire, ahead; Brought the ship to the harbour-gate And the young seaboy from the dead.

An angel, so the sailors said, With sacred smile and feathers bright, Had through miraculous waters led The boy into the healing light.

No angel led them through the dark In answer to a crumbling prayer; It was, my Abraham said, a shark Bathing with phosphor the black air.

A shark that its flaring back Bore the young saint from night to day; Seamen called it Morns Jack And, hunting, looked the other way.

This I remember as the sun Explodes; the cold Sea fills the skies. Into my mouth the waters run And through the windows of my eyes.

And I am hauled from my soft blood. I hear the vessel make for shore. Look! all the seamen cry. The good Fish rises on the sea once ,tore!

But I have scan that fish before. Its teeth are sharp. Its throat is red. It gives no light, and I can hear The sea on the stabbed.rocks ahead.

ciustry; Uls1 FA'