PALAPA: Kai Nolte* lifted the first survivor – a child – to safety at 2.30pm.
The rescue continued all afternoon to the rhythm of the swell. Nolte said after a while, “This is just like fishing”.
Kai Nolte lifted the first survivor – a child –
to safety at 2.30pm. So see him
one step up from the abyss, this
first stay in the human chain, angel
of the bringing-forth, its physicality,
exulting! He it is lights on the promise
the deep makes, the shoal shining, eyes
beyond the margin’s predictable lives.
His arm at stretch now, assurance of resurgence,
his the sea-errand. The rescue continued
all afternoon to the rhythm of the swell.
Fishers of men, here found so, endowed
with strength in the prime, captained to rebuff
powers, and stood hours-long handing them
up – the child to his second life – hands
in sight everywhere, hands from the sea,
seized – the woman made rags by despair,
rising – and eyes met, the answering.
Nolte said after a while “This is just like fishing”.
Not all of life to most men carries such
nor surely to you, Norwegian mariner
lowest on the ladder, such a draft again.
* A sailor on the Norwegian ship “Tampa”, which picked up asylum-seekers from the sinking “Palapa”, in the Indian Ocean.