Above all he can see the wave
that black & overarching wall of water
rising behind them in their tiny boats
lifting them up up up
hundreds of feet
then reluctantly letting them down again
while it continues its inexorable progress
onto the land they’ve left behind

Released some few of them, that is
more than half of their dozens of boats
are swept along with it, as it speeds on
to crash & break above their darkened homeland

The survivors journey on
through the storms
the drifts of burning pumice & volcanic debris
the lightning bolts
till they come to a group of islands
an ancient outpost of their empire
a harbour like the one they’ve left
built on a hundred hills
a climate not unlike their own
though everything seems changed in that respect
as if the cataclysm has reversed their up & down
switched the positions of the very stars
so they can never find their way back
to their ruined homeland

This new green country will be henceforth their home …
at this point he dozes off
or drops into a deeper region of sleep
waking at times
to scenes half-glimpsed in firelight
scenes so bizarre
as to make him question if they too are dreams

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