Gericault's Raft

Unexpected surprise thumps the soul

As the raft comes alive

And I merge into desperation with them;

A thousand days of hope

Damned in a moment lost.


Engulfed by despair - a floating morgue

Cannabalised by death devouring the luckless

While we stand outside the hospice of life [1]

Patiently awaiting a new opportunity

To cultivate the eternal relationship.


Two survivors struggle in debate for meaning,

Existentially crying out in the melee

Of disagreement and the lust for power

While unaware souls blissfully engage

In the joys of a simple engagement. [2]


The seas pound their destruction

As the elements overcome survivors

In a Washington meet echoing [3]

The beauty of woman's hair

Trapped in the traffic of another slavery.

And the Rumsfeld guns pound the threats of war [4]

As the lifeboats of peace founder

On the rocks of mass destruction [5]

And the soul thumps again

Frantically waving the flag for survival.


But their hopes are dashed as the ship disappears

Over the horizon to an eastern gulf,

And humanity resigns itself

To the will of a forgotten God

Wrapped in a haj-like shroud [6]


All hope is lost, with human love and beauty

Absorbed in the warrior's shield [7]

And we leave the Medusa to its fate

Disgustedly passing by on the other side [8]

As history's canvas grows in size.



Written a week after seeing Gericault's, 'Raft of the Medusa' at Tate Britain


[1] The interview with Teresa Beynon about palliative care takes place in two days

[2] I'd had supper at the ICO before going to the Tate

[3] Margaret has returned from the Int Conference on Sexual Trafficking in Washington

[4] Rumsfeld was interviewd by David Dimbleby last night

[5] I was tempted to write 'On the Iraq of mass destruction'

[6] The uniform white clothing of the haj pilgrims, like the Medusa's flag

[7] The mythological Medusa's head was incorporated into Athena's shield

[8] my disappointment at our un-Samaritan organizational silence over the Iraq crisis