This poem is taken from Jan Dean’s sequence Lullabies for the Dead. The sequence was part of a collaboration with artist Caroline Lea. I was very struck by this poem’s relevance to Titanic, and Jan was kind enough to allow me to post it here. I find it such a tender and gentle, sad poem.
the liner is berthed and streamers fly
into warp into weft bind the ship to the port
long streamers bright streamers
from shipside to harbour
the pilotboat waiting the pull of the sea
now they ease and shift
the woven sheet shreds unlaces
and land lets her go
away from the ribbons and wreaths
rising on ripples that run from the wake
white petals drift in slow separation
soft as featherbreath
in a song that rows sweet as a wavetop
pebble and shingle and shellsong
gullcry and windcry
Also featured today are three short poems from Alison Brackenbury. These remind me of Hardy’s poems ‘Life’s Little Ironies’. I am grateful to Alison for sending me these vignettes.
Titanic’s last tune
No, it was not ‘Nearer my God’-
that heavy guess, proved false.
But ‘Songe d’Automne,’ a pretty little number
which once touched lips with a waltz.
After the Titanic
I did not know about the cries
heard in the lifeboats, out of reach.
No one who heard forgot those cries,
sheer anger, fear and disbelief.
Clause 7 (b)
Now they update
The lawyers let
no errors through.