Men came from the sea
with their unusual catch –
one hundred and fifty three.
A fire burned on the beach.

They had expected nothing,
now there was a glut,
and also this man waiting.
The charcoal was white hot.

But was the man there?
One moment it seemed so,
the next he was not.
Master, they said, don’t go.

Like thin air shimmering
when powerful heat bakes it,
he continued his waiting.
Indefinite. Definite.

The fire burned on the beach
with their unusual catch.
They had expected nothing.
Now there was too much.

— Andrew Motion

I heard this read a few moments ago by Andrew Motion.

Very moving. It was like hearing something from Khalil Gibran.

Andrew Motion was on the last in the series of Honest Doubt, a series by Richard Holloway, former Bishop of Edinburgh, talking about religion.

Also featured was Tears in the Rain from the film Blade Runner.

Shame on the BBC that they are not holding this excellent series on-line.

The omnibus edition on BBC Radio 4, 2100 BST tonight.

Andrew Motion explained how he came to write the poem, sitting in church listening to the service.

The relevant text is St John Chapter 21.

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