Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Purposefulness (Purpose in Life) (05/25/06)
- TITLE: The Sentinel
By Kenn Allan
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And filled with ancient seas,
A tiny cove which time forgot,
Sleeps in the ocean breeze.
A single pylon driven deep,
Into the bed of rock,
Survives the decomposing fate,
Bestowed upon the dock.
High atop his weathered throne,
Beyond the briny reach,
A pelican keeps careful watch,
Over his strand of beach.
He sits in contemplative thought,
In daybreak's golden haze,
Until the sun creeps from the sky,
And sets the sea ablaze.
High overhead in circled swarm,
The seagulls rule the skies,
Disrupting any hope of peace,
With echoes of their cries.
They trip the air in perfect light,
Yet curse his watchful eye,
They ridicule his sagging bill,
Without a reason why.
They scorn the curve within his neck,
And mock his gait with glee;
The pelican just turns away,
And gazes out to sea.
One careless day, a haughty gull,
While swooping to deride,
Misjudges with a glancing blow,
Against the pylon’s side.
Cruel barnacles like rusty nails,
Slice deep into his flesh,
Depriving wings of precious flight,
And oozing life afresh.
Spreading fast, a crimson stain,
Lures death from far beneath;
No mercy comes from dorsal fin,
Or rows of slashing teeth.
In knowing precious time is short,
The gull makes his retreat,
Propelled by terror in his heart,
Sustained by thrashing feet.
Beyond the cove salvation waits,
Where breakers rush to shore;
A somber bell tolls loud and clear,
Above the ocean’s roar.
With ebbing strength, the fleeing bird,
Put stinging wounds aside,
To reach out for that blessed sound,
And to his fate abide.
It is a buoy which beckons true,
A guidepost for the lost,
Its chain secured by shipwrecked souls,
Whose deeds reflect the cost.
By force of will, he dares ascend,
Beneath the pointed spire,
Expecting hope from whom he flew,
To bring what he'd require.
But members of his former flock,
Have chosen to betray;
They circle high above his head
And look the other way.
The pelican, from distant shore,
Has watched the tale unfold;
He saw the gull escape the sea,
And tremble in the cold.
The great white shadow lurking near,
From him is not concealed,
Nor is the glimmer of the blood,
From gashes not yet healed.
No longer can his purpose wait,
To heal the seagull's plight;
He stretches forth enormous wings,
And lifts himself in flight.
Set free from boundaries of the earth,
He soars with awesome grace,
Transcending all expected laws,
Which govern time and space.
Now he plunges from the heights,
In streaks of brown and gray,
Keen vision focused with intent,
Upon his fishy prey.
He hits the water near the shark,
His snakelike neck unfurls,
Four dozen minnows disappear,
Amid the foamy swirls.
Once safely in the air again,
Away from vengeful jaws,
The pelican heads for the buoy,
To seal his noble cause.
Unseen by the unconscious gull,
The pelican arrives,
And dumps life from his sagging bill,
Ensuring he survives.
Departing quickly as he came,
He leaves without farewell,
Except the rocking of the buoy,
And tolling of the bell.
Then in the skies above the cove,
A pelican flies free,
Still gazing at that azure line,
Where heaven meets the sea.
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