by Frank Weltner. All Rights Reserved.
Psalms of the Lost Colony of Roanoke
Death of the Last Roanoke Man in the Wilderness
Sir Walter Raleigh sent me out across
The raging cold Atlantic waves. My ship
Was threatened by three monstrous whales.
Five icebergs floated past one snowy night.
She sailed the Sun and stars to Roanoke.
I ran away inside the wilderness
Outside of Roanoke, away from stone knives
Stabbing us to death. I cannot find my way,
Dear Jesus. Guide me true into your woods,
Bless my trail. Make rivers fall before
My footstepís holy touch, that I might find
A place to rest. I am so far away
From Christian lands. Oh, no. I hear them, those
With knives blood-swabbed with Christian flesh. Dear God!
North Caroline by Albermarle Sound is where
We settled at a place called Roanoke.
Our staves rose up a wooden wall against
Whatever evil men out there might sail
With bloodied axes wild to slice us up
And shred us dead for worms. I hear
The waves of Roanoke Sound as well
As cranes that feed on Pamlicoís shores.
This place of beauty, with Godís will,
Shall be for us a place of rest. Our God
Saw fit to place us here in His Divine
And Holy Manner. Jesus hovers near,
Else we shall be the destroyed in this new world.
Our ploughs turned soils to honor Jesus Christ.
The First American Resurrection
We fish here by this old river, casting nets
Into the resurrected sands where fishes come
And beg to bless the harvest and to nourish us
In Christís dear Name. We see the hand of God
In those white clouds where lightning blasts the sky
So high as Heavenís Gates. Into that blaze
Of whiteness, pure as Jesusí clothes, we hope
Someday to enter into realms of hope
And warm Eternal Life, that second Tree
Forbidden by our Lord in Eden, but
Served up in Jesusí blood of grace to all
Who know Him, as we do. Our Bibles shall
Protect us. If we die from Indian knives,
Weíll sail on Bibles through those clouds to God.
Speckled Dove and Egret White on Croatan Sound
Croatan Sound, I love your graceful shores
Where egrets preen the silver sea on legs
As thin as straw. Their beaks, like Jesus come
Again to rapture us away, now take
These little fish and hold them sparkling in
The golden Sun, tails flashing in deathís ecstasy.
When I am taken let it be by egrets
White as coat of Jesus, legs all crossed
Inside the silvery shore. Just swallow me
In one great gulp, so I may swim your neck
Down, down and rise into the Heavens Sunny Eye
Inside your feathery form from out the head
Of Jesus coming up in Jordanís swirling sound
Released to God by John the Baptistís Hands.
Hell But for Grace Psalm
Oh, Jesus Christ, I know that I have lived
A life of sin and sadness here below, that now
This Island, Roanoke, is but a place
Of punishment, a kind of Limbo where
Iíve learned to suffer much. I know, My Lord,
That I deserve the harshest wilderness,
The same the Hebrews did, for I also
Have been unworthy of Your Trust. My life
Has been a swarm of deadly sin, from lust
To cursing your own name, for I am low
As Satanís crawling form some days. Your Grace
Is all that saves me from the spectacle
Of Hellís red lakes of fire where souls like mine
Would perish of Eternal nightmare screams.
I eat the puny loaf of bread that Christ
Provided me this second year Iíve farmed
This wicked Islandís scrawny fields where work
Can barely yield a meal. The Lord gave us
This for some good reason known to God
Alone. To me, it seems a ragged edge
From Christís embedded bloody nail upon
The dripping cross of suffering where he
Gave life and limbs for me. The spear that pierced
Godís side pierced me as well. I felt so deep
The anguished pain that comes from plowing soil
That does not want to yield to Satanís wood,
That seeks to still the heart of God in lands
Untouched by Him since He created it.
The Preacher Sermonizes to the Settlers in Roanoke
My fellow Christians, come, and worship Him,
The One who made this world of ours. He led
Us past the Icy bergs and Whales upon
That sickening tossing Sea. He blessed us with
This place to found anew a life where we
Can worship Jesus Christ and find a place
In Godís Eternity through Graceís sweet
Forgiveness. We do not deserve such Grace,
Yet it was freely given us by Christís
Sole blameless Death. Rise up like Christ as we
Shall rise on Resurrectionís Day as corpse
And God unite in wondrous forms where we
Shall be rebuilt anew in spirit flesh so pure
That we shall never suffer, age and die.
Lust in Roanoke
I slept last night with her, though I be damned
Forever. She is married to a man,
Not me, so I have sinned before the Lordís
Eternal watching eye. The Sun above
Looks down in horror at my form. I die
Again each breath I breathe. I know God knows,
That men like me are sinners through and through.
I came here born in sin and lived my life
In lust-filled dreams, seducing wicked girls
Who married my best friends, who lie beneath
My sweating lust and seeding me what they
Should know is husbandsí only due. Her childís
Small eyes and face are mine. Each day he lives
Condemns me in my bed of Devilish flames.
The Roanoke Bastard Born and Dead
I was bastard born and bastard will I die.
I was manumitted, slaved, and sent away
To work in Roanoke as soon as I was old
Enough to sail. My father signed me up
With Captain Barlowe whose small bark rode
Grand ice-charged waves and winds across the black
Atlantic Sea where whales humongous swam
About my prow and farted awful spurts
Into the air from hare lipped spouts inside
Their foamy heads. I dreamed inside whales
Some Jonah lusted on a womanís breast.
I dreamed of crawling deep in side a whale
With women in my arms to live in there
And lust inside them to my heartís content
For that, they say, is what we bastards do.
The Fifteen Settlers Left Behind at Roanoke
The others who were lucky left on ships
And crossed to Englandís sweaty cities where
They languish in the streets and beg for food.
But we who stayed on Roanoke and eat
The food Craotan Indians trade us for
Those strung up beads which we can make from wood
And shells upon the Albermarle shores
Is nearly gone. The other Indians
Who fight the friendly tribe we trade with seem
As near as deathís sweet knife-thrust. We camp by
The shore and sing our hymns to Jesus Christ.
All fifteen strong, we stayed to man the walls
Of our Fort Raleigh. Screams inside the woods
Seem close, then fade. We figure they will kill us next.