Francis Danby The Deluge
Francis Danby 'The deluge'

The Deluge

Amryl Johnson

No sun sets like this one
blood red eye of judgment
closing blank against the horror
shutting hard against the ruin
where frenzied limbs
snatch
at little more than hope
spilled lives
swept away by an arc of the wrist
which wipes the page clean
almost
And the swirling devouring agent
of death
once waters of life
baptismal order
is tempered only by the artist's brush
which strokes a fevered reasoning
Fine lines angled before the tide
turned within a whirlwind of thought
to shape an anger
and seal a vast web of stillness
which churns the senses
One ray of hope trapped
the despair of wings
powerless beneath the power
of an inflexible will

draw life from the body

So
framed only in time
clutching no corners of control
save the edges of a canvas
the deluge sweeps on
through the centuries
while the I of judgment
sits firm
upon the rock
of reason

Francis Danby The opening of the sixth seal
Francis Danby 'The opening of the sixth seal'

Amryl Johnson was born in Trinidad. She came to England when she was eleven and continued her education in London and later at the University of Kent. A number of het poems were published in the anthology News of Babylon (Chatto & Windus, 1985) and her own collection Long Road to Nowhere was published by Virago Press, also in 1985. She has broadcast here and in the Caribbean and currently lives in Oxford.