Black Rock Angel

I have met the Black Rock Angel of Hermanus: She took me on a journey, revealed many magics and mended a broken soul . . .
– Ah, but that’s another story!   This one is hers.

Black Rock Angel

There’s a black rock gleaming brightly as the morning sun peeps through,
on a misty sea that’s resting in the bay.
A woman picks the fynbos, painting footprints in the dew,
looking south to Cape Agulhas far away.

In a house beneath the mountain lies an old man in his death
as the family are summoned to his side.
They listen to the whispers of his final rasping breath
while he bravely battles ebbing of the tide.

“Cast my ashes to the ocean where it thunders dark on stone
and the spray flies high and waves with foam run white.
A mother with her whale-child heeds the gray gulls cry alone
and the lighthouse probes through darkness every night.”

“So my Son, I’ll not see Christmas for my burden is too grave,
on the rock out there my final wish to be.”
A young man and his father swim together on the wave,
with a little cask of ashes for the sea.”

But Poseidon seems offended as he drags a swimmer down
and the white sand sees that boy emerge alone.
Atlantic rushes hungry, an intruder quick to drown;
It’s another ghost to claim that ebon throne.

“Cast my ashes in the ocean where it thunders to the shore
and the spray flies high and waves with foam run white.
Our whale-child leaves his mother for the southern blow and roar
where lightning rents the black and stormy night.”

On a blue Atlantic ocean sails a small boat on the swell,
while a brisk southeaster blows this Christmas day.
Young skipper at its tiller has no time on tears to dwell
as he fights through crashing breakers, foam and spray.

There’s a black rock glistens darkly as it greets the rising moon
from a restless sea that’s brooding in the bay.
A woman counts the abalone, leaves footprints on the dune;
from her distant Cape Agulhas, turns away.

© WW Schwim, 2007

Photo by author.


I love everything about it, Wally — your judicious handling of poetic devices combine with gorgeous photography to complement a compelling scene with emotional punch.   Poseidon must take his due, but the gentle presence of the Black Rock Angel mitigates the loss and ties the experience to all of history for a story of triumph and courage in the face of adversity.

The reliable rhythm with alternating lines of tetramater & trimeter not only serve to imitate the motion of the ocean, but also work beautifully with the abab scheme to soften the effect of the rhyme.

It just doesn’t get any better than this in my book.

Mary Boren