(for Raphael ‘Rinvelle’ Philip)
“…And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused…” – Wordsworth (Tintern Abbey)
Do angels congregate here, in this place?
Pigeon Island no more an island—
a pleasant park fringed by temperamental ocean
coming through dwarf palms,
combing surf cresting under wind-heavy casuarinas
and small boats busy off the balcony
ofJambe de Bois café. Mixed multitudes
clamber through the old fort and ruins
of the officers’ mess, braving the precipitous path
to the sphinxe-head peak; undulating
lawns host seasons of tumbling children,
jazz aficionados, an occasional theatre troupe —
me, I love the ascending leaf-strewn way to the curving spine
that leads to musing about angels,
arriving again at a certain flower-charged cedar that looks out over the bay,
then coming down, to sit gazing
at promiscuous surf collapsing forever
all over the unyielding, wet incumbent stones.
[This poem is published in recognition of the highly commendable work of BishnuTulsi and the staff of the St. Lucia National Trust in the preservation and protection of the heritage of Saint Lucia, and with thanks to the Honorable Sir Julian Hunte for his past and continuing work to preserve our heritage – JRL].