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Pilgrims All

Posted by lisaspoetryfromtheheart on June 12, 2017 at 12:50 AM

The chance of writing poetry for performance perhaps is always something to be grateful for and this is my latest offering. Written for a programme about Boston and poetry. I hope they will use it and I look forward to meeting up with benjamin Zephaniah.


Pilgrims All


Silent oars bear them away from persecution.

Stealthy as a fox they slip away,

Escaping deserted moorings.

Sails rustle, unfurl,

Fill as wind breathes freedom.

Pilgrims all, they huddle in cold darkness,

Dreaming of a new start as waves lick hull -

Praying for a future in a kinder land.


The angry North Sea tosses them like flotsam,

Battered and bruised, like the ship itself,

They rock and shiver.

Merciless waves echo grim tattoos of submission;

Until gratefully they drift to harbour.

Ship now too frail to last another onward voyage,

The pilgrims make their home,

Embracing a new tongue and newer dreams,

Remaining in the flat lands.

While others, forced to return,

Wait for passage on a greater voyage and pray for tolerance at home…


Ships ferried pilgrims once to distant shores

To echo dreams of freedom down the ages;

To give, to take, to cultivate and trade, enslave, make free,

Forget the pain they left behind so many years ago.

And now, a lone memorial stands in an East Coast town

Remembering ancestral homes where newer pilgrims tread -

And still they sail on dangerous hulks to unknown shores,

Pilgrims all,

Asking only welcome from the mild descendants of the men who stayed behind.

Hoping for a quiet sanctuary here, they dream

Of work and prayer and freedom in the fields of Lincolnshire.


© Lisa Marie Gabriel June 2017


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