song of a ship-wrecked sailor


  • “Amazing Grace” choirs sweetly sing,
    hopeful words ooze, glad tears bring,
    sung in concert hall and prison wing.

    once you swore, cursed better than most,
    biblically challenged your belligerent boast,
    shipwrecked and shaken off Donegal’s coast.

    you fought storm waves, you steered the ship,
    wind howled eerily, sails easily ripped,
    recalled pleading slaves under sadistic whips:

    black African flesh bled, tattooed by terror;
    your own deliverance trial and error,
    salvation came slow, evolving endeavour.

    gospel hope unlocked, chains finally fell:
    hounds stopped chasing fear’s sweaty smell;
    no black slaves to whip, rape or sell.

    Did you realise grace-song first written
    would challenge the pomp of Imperial Britain?
    racism unwound when souls became smitten.

    You prayed bible verses, set many free
    you bowed your heart, bent your knee,
    soul now sheltered from life’s stormy seas.


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