From the dour sea of stillness,
She steps onto the white sand grieving,
Her mind the color of rust;
The sound of a sunken bell clangs
Cold and final, water runs by her feet,

But by such abuses-
She feels the dying, the bones of fingers
Scaring her flesh
Twisting like corkscrews, pulling her
Into God’s city.

Relish death, child; doused by the holy sea
She wades without wetting her soul,
The waves are flat and full of dark,
Into a blackness, her pale body;
The drowned are waiting, expressionless sirens.

Copyright © 02/28/2019 lance sheridan®


69 comments on “Retribution

  1. This is incredibly powerful and moving. Raw….

  2. You are very welcome. Abuse is ugly, the effects are…. deep. This poem captures that.

  3. This is an incredible piece. Darkly beautiful. ❤

  4. beatrice841129783 says:

    Bonsoir puissant et douloureux tristesse d’une destinée
    Douce soirée bises !

  5. Wow! Just wow! Such descriptive forces flow through your words!

  6. carasmelody says:

    I like the power of your words, even if there clings a darker tone to them… makes them go under my skin.

  7. crazywitch25 says:

    I like this poem. Are you a fan of Lisa Gerrard? It kind of like her tone, which scares those who cling to life on a ray of a sun only to burn.

  8. The beauty of Art is that it is open to interpretation..Good Art should stimulate discussion (even friendly debate) as your does, Lance. The title is Retribution..that has a veritable bouquet of meanings from, vengeance to atonement,reprisal to amends. Is she getting back at someone, or is she atoning for someone she hurt? In either case, she has decided to walk into the ocean and give up on her life. This is powerful writing, left open to the reader’s interpretation. I believe, her act of ending her life, is in the end, just hers..Only she really knows; we can speculate, but never ‘know”
    Wonderful poem Lance..leaving much food for thought.

  9. RoseMarie says:

    So absolutely dark and beautiful Lance. Love it❤️❤️

  10. Well captured, the moments before ending one’s life. Like in a photo. Though a little jittery…..when we think there is someone beckoning us from the other side and no-one doing that on this side..

  11. rabirius says:

    Again, another great work.

  12. Powerful imagery, Lance. I feel the woman’s anguish, Well not really anguish but despair causing her to welcome death in the sea. Yes, she would be revolted by the many the sea has already claimed but also feel a kinship to them, to their bones, to what was left. Did she believe in God? Was she in some manner trying to atone for so many sea deaths? Do we all in some manner suffer survivor guilt? Beautiful, powerful poetry, my friend..

    • Barbara, so vividly painted, your words are masterfully woven together. My utmost gratitude and sincere thanks, my friend. You truly inspire!

    • MOMENTS says:

      Profound analysis of this beautifully dark poem. Wish there was more of this in WP. Congrats to you both, Lance and Barbara, for scaring the ghost of shallowness that always haunts in the realms of this new digital world.

    • MOMENTS says:

      “The sound of a sunken bell clangs”
      This is an impacting line in the first stanza, Lance, and, following Barbra’s interpretation, it could stand for the church bells that sound in a funeral, already anouncing what will come. “Cold and final”, “God’s city” are proof to the next events. Love how you describe the horror of her dying. Like Sylvia Plath you are so talented in describing the beauty of horror. Amazing! The second stanza is again impacting: “… the bones of fingers/ scaring her flesh/ Twisting like corkscrews..”. It brings me back to Plath’s poetry as well as the final stanza, where there is certain pleasure or liberation in “relish death, child, doused by the holy sea”. The contrast of the holy sea as the only positive thing with also the contrast with colors light and darkness is beautifully expressed. And the last line provides a perfect end with new contrasts: “drowned” and “waiting”, and “expressionless” and “sirens”. Excellent work as always, Lance! By the way, this is now chapter 8 by my friend Mario Savioni, where the constant duality illusion-delusion, dream-reality appear. Please, check it out. He needs more feedback than me. Mario is a much better writer who deserves it: “Frank thought about this. Was he looking for a partner or someone to have sex with? He did not think beyond that simple, single transaction — the satisfaction of his baser needs, not realizing that his needs might go on given the possibility of this opportunity and mutual attraction.” Excerpt from here:

  13. Absolutely stunning. You really are my favorite kind of poet. I look forward to reading much more!

  14. samustaad says:

    I have no words to describe how beautiful this is…

  15. Susi Bocks says:

    Wow! I know it could mean something completely different but I’m feeling depression/suicide/abuse with this piece. She was in a really dark place. This line “Her mind the color of rust” set me off in that direction. So well written, Lance!

  16. mylilplace says:

    I felt so sad reading this but it is also so beautiful. Thank you for sharing another great work of yours.

  17. Rano Raraku says:

    I would like translate Retribution

  18. For you my friend


    passionate and compelled
    words imparting
    human nature unveiled
    reflecting exposing
    raw souls

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