Doug Blair

(April 6,1951 / London, Ontario, Canada)

Ship of Ships


It is sinking
Irreversibly.
Whistles abate.
Bells diminish.
The chuggings of
Lower quarters
Grind and wheeze.
Rowings are heard
‘Gainst the waves.
Tempo setting in.
Lifeboats all dispatched.
But too few.
Friends call to each other
Cross the darkness.
Deck fires paint a cracked
Flash on the brine.
Great ship lists
Horribly
To the fore.
Stragglers and those resigned
Sit at lounge chairs,
Awaiting inevitability.
Hands held.
“I love you” spoken.
One baleful voice
Cries through the fog
(As if alone, where
Crowds had just streamed,
Voices discordant.)
“Herbert, dear,
I’m waiting for you.”
Atlantic cold
Clarifies the strains
Of small orchestra.
Dignified departure.
Debussy.
And this had been
The Ship of ships.
Frigid saline fingers
Thanking the ice;
Grabbing more and more
Of its girth.
Pulling it down.

Submitted: Saturday, April 27, 2013
Edited: Saturday, April 27, 2013

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  • Brian Johnston (4/19/2014 11:22:00 AM)

    I usually don't like 2nd hand poems (imagining other's experiences) as much but your poem does a lot to warn us that this is ultimately a universal experience, we all sink on a ship somewhere and it doesn't matter how fine she is, or how prepared we are for the vagaries of the future, our end is still in God's hands. Nice write! (Report) Reply

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