New Year Poem

Sea at Gros Islet.  Photo Copyright © 2015 by John Robert Lee.

The Sea of Faith

Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore

Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.

But now I only hear

Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar…   

Matthew Arnold, "Dover Beach"


I suppose it’s ultimately personal

this building of a life—

ground, wall block, hardwood, clamped-metal


roof, about a well-planted

corner-stone of certain faith—

when the earth-plot shakes to doubt,


window panes

batter in fear against cyclones,

some plump rat rots under the boards with the stench


of horrible news (you get the point)—

              faith surges like a triumphant vanguard

              of galloping waves off Gros Islet


              to spread its bounteous, cleansing surf

              all along the garbage-littered shore.



John Robert Lee is a Saint Lucian poet. His publications include elemental: new and selected poems (Peepal Tree, 2008) and Sighting and other poems of faith (Mahanaim, 2013). He co-edited Sent Lisi: Poems and Art of Saint Lucia (2014). He is a regular contributor to ArtsEtc.