a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
after “The Coast of Genoa” by Jasper Francis Cropsey
Tallest of the old ones,
Do not let your ships sail for the Indies;
Leave the Americas alone.
Keep them out of the Caribbean;
Let Africa be.
Call back Columbus
With empty hands.
Call back your slave vessels
With empty hulls.
Attend to your own wounds.
Your crumbling architecture testifies
Of centuries of sacking and being sacked,
Of cannon fire and cannon fodder,
Of the banners of a tenth of Europe,
Of wars with Venice and Milan.
Attend, also, to your own joys.
Scale your peaks—with boulders, waterfalls, mosses, trees.
Watch your birds, skittering
And swooping along your churning coast.
Spend more time with your barrels of good wine,
Your wheels of good cheese.
Put to better use the skills and sextants
Of your honored sailors and shipwrights.
Dredge what’s buried beneath
Your morning and evening tides.
Rebuild your ruins,
Your piles of iron and stone.
Call home your ships with your shining.
Shine shine shine.
Paul T. Corrigan teaches writing at the University of Tampa, where he is also the poetry editor for The Tampa Review. His writing has appeared in TheAtlantic.com, The Ekphrastic Review, Saint Katherine Review, Poets Reading the News, and elsewhere. He has won Rattle‘s Ekphrastic Challenge twice.