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    colorful pebbles by water

    A Lindisfarne Cross

    By Michael Manning

    July 6, 2024

    This poem was a finalist for Plough’s 2024 Rhina Espaillat Poetry Award.

    It begins with what is broken,
    cast off, abandoned, lost beyond all usefulness or artifice.
    The abyss leaves only a remnant on the beach:
    a gobbet of green glass,
    two twigs,
    a skein of fishing line,
    the last light ring of a worn-out shell,
    three tiny beads.
    These withered, weathered, weakened pieces are chosen,
    placed with tender delicacy, fresh-bound to make
    a coracle, tossed upon the ocean, almost overwhelmed
    yet crowned by a bright halo,
    tucked under the nook of a cross.
    This is a reckless act.
    Strange, that what is most frail is what endures,
    leavened into iridescent beauty
    in the work and cost of love,
    bearing with the depths, willing
    a new word to be spoken,
    and what is done and made with pain.
    It begins with what is broken.

    colorful pebbles by water

    Photograph by Megan Pru / Flickr. Used by permission.

    Contributed By MichaelManning Michael Manning

    Michael Manning is a poet who lives on the Isle of Man.

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