Giorgione The Tempest

Each shock and shudder pummels the ship

as it cleaves through the waves. The updraught

billows the sail, and combers flood

the storm-struck deck. Our crew, flayed by spray,

squint ahead through the onslaught,

making way to that island of isolation.

The ocean begins to batter again:

a pulsation reverberates throughout the ship,

causing the wood to creak and bend.

Lightning strikes the water like a damnation.

Not a single place of solace for our crew to crawl into.

Yet again, the ship ripples and pulses, and the wind

rips the spindrift from the crest of each wave.

The captain beaches the hull.

Rain and wind weaken,

giving way to night’s mist.

The crew steps onto the island before them.

In the distance, they hear a song swimming

through the night, and into their view comes

a winged figure, its song unwinding from a rock.

(Ed. Note: The image above is “The Tempest” of Giorgione.)


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Author: The Best American Poetry