“Patina, Unturning” by Daniel Wolfert

When first they raised Patina in Green

She towered, impassive, above the black waters

And although we knew not why they shivered and shook

The faraway monsters feared as she peered east.


“Behold this, our might,” cried the forefathers fiercely

“Behold this, the one we have raised from the depths

She of the Sea-Washed

Our Mother of Exiles.”




My Grandmother spits.

“What might do they have,

These wool-headed men?

What right do they have,

To speak of the Sea-Washed?

When we washed ourselves here, in these

The black waters

When She in the Green was not even a thought.”


Grandmother spits

And she sits in her fury.


When first she brought forth her Tablet in Sage

Patina in Green carved her symbols in stone

A story of times long before she had risen

That she would not speak for the weak and the wretched.


“Behold this, our Queen,” cried the forefathers fiercely

“Behold this, the one that would stand at the gate

She of the Yearning

Our Mother of Masses.”




My Grandfather sighs.

“What choice did we have,

Among faraway monsters?

What voice did we have,

Among all of the Yearning?

When earning a place beyond She in the Green

Cost only the ship fare and all that we knew?”


Grandfather sighs

And he cries in the old tongue.


When first she brought forth her flame all in gold

Patina in Green made a path all of white

And out across waters of unending black

The forefathers’ might lit the night like a sun.


“Behold this, our Light,” cried our forefathers fiercely

“Behold this, the Greatest Colossus of all

She of No Shackles

Our Mother of Beacons.”


Thus forefathers fivefold

Then tenfold

Then twenty

Bound she in the green to her place by the sea.


“Would she go if she could?” I ask in my wonder

“Would she turn from the sea

Turn to we that have bound her?”


“Fwah!” spits my Grandmother.

“Nyah,” sighs my Grandfather.

“You should be grateful she towers above the black waters

And looks only east

From the feast on the shore.”


“The feast on the shore?

Tell me more!

Tell me more!”


“Tell you more of the feast?”


“In the least!

In the least!”


“Tell you more of the feast?

Of what She in the Green might decide

If the tide of what binds her starts ebbing away?

But surely you know about faraway monsters.

Surely you know

That they change and they grow

From shoreside Colossus

To eaters of men.”


“To eaters of men?”


“To eaters of men.”


“So then we are the feast?”


“In the least

In the least.”


Others precede us

The Sea-Washed abiding

Others crossed oceans

The Yearning who came.


She of the Sea-Washed, the Yearning, No Shackles.


But I only know now

When our forefathers fiercely

Claim right in their might

For the one they have raised.


Our Mother of Exiles, Masses and Beacons.


I only know here

On the shore of a land

Where to stand on the earth

Is to stand in her shadow.


“Fwah!” spits my Grandmother

“Nyah,” sighs my Grandfather

And they turn from the proof of the forefather’s might

And the right that they claim

For the one that they raised.


So the Sea-Washed will fear her

The Yearning revere her

And I watch to see if Patina in Green

Will turn to the shore and the feast and the forefathers fierce

Or just peer ever eastward

To faraway kin

On faraway shores

That are not unlike ours.


Daniel Wolfert is a composer and writer whose peak hours of creativity are from 10 P.M. to 2 A.M. He subsequently creates during those hours, sleeps atrociously, and suffers accordingly at his many jobs concerning music and education. When not suffering, he cooks tolerably, dances poorly, and makes himself laugh with his own dumb jokes.