Roy Ernest Ballard
Corpus Sanctum, St. Elmo's Fire. - Poem by Roy Ernest Ballard
Toiling in a tempest full of voices,
his good ship foundering in stormy steeps,
the troubled sailor suddenly rejoices
when holy fire from the masthead leaps.
New hopes of safety hang upon the sign,
by god or saint struck in the friendless dark.
The black ship shines from truck to waterline;
she dazzles with an incandescent arc.
Great waves from every side break up the spell
and fling her angrily upon her back.
She's beam-ends on and fills with every swell.
She's going under, drowning like a sack.
Alas for signs! So much for holy fires
and all the brilliant promises of liars.
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