The Polynesian widows
remain faithful to their rituals
now John Adams stands alone.
The shouts & laughter of children
mingle with the cries of gulls
echoing over fields where the widows work
surrounded by the unchanging ocean
wearing flowers in their hair,
carrying the bones & skulls of the slain.
Poor Adams is confused.
Does mad Quintal mock Mr Christian?
Or is Williams grinning at Ned Young
whose rotten teeth at last have fallen out?
Clank, clank, the widows’ hips sway
unnerving this stranded survivor
witness to lurid action
this beached up cockney, reluctant patriarch.
What a life! his old dad would have sighed,
good weather, time for a bit of skiving
all the time in the world.
But Adams has his problems, clink, clink
the widows share their secrets.
He must stop these heathen rites,
turns to the Bible, that comfort in old age.
Ian C Smith
2 February 2001