harbor (the conversion)

If this bowl is always empty

If it breathes if it’s lung

If a horse can rise from the ashes

Saul was a sailor on the boat to Damascus

He did not know what he was

Paul turned to a voice it rose up from the waves

It chained his boat to the darkness

A man finds ash & he makes it a man

A horse finds ash in a horse

It lifts us it holds us it breaks us again

Scatter him into the harbor


Copyright © 2013 by Nick Flynn. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on May 1, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

About this Poem

“’Harbor (The Conversion)’ is a collaboration with Mischa Richter, a friend who I've been collaborating with for the past few years, often by writing poems in response to his photographs and films of Provincetown, which is his home and my adopted home (or one of them)—Mischa sent me his photograph, which is a still of a short film he made of a local pal (Paul Tasha) riding one of his horses in the bay, while leading another horse beside them. I combined this image with Carravagio's great painting ‘Saul's Conversion on the Road to Damascus’, which always reminds me of Paul.”
Nick Flynn