The Titanic disaster affected people on both sides of the Atlantic. It is good to have a poem from an American poet today. It must have been difficult for survivors to give witness statements at the enquiries after the fact.
—North Atlantic, 1912
Things unseen are nonsense to him.
It will mean trouble,
I plead once more,
paused on the dock.
But he knows better.
I sleep when I can by day,
write by night,
listen for sounds,
not knowing what I expect
to hear, but feeling a pall—
the veil of a mourner’s hat.
Suddenly the pen flies from my hand,
in a blue sea of ink.
I stagger into walls.
We are lowered in a small boat.
Bodies splash below.
We drift, float on the wake;
our breath spurts steam:
we listen to silence, the last word.
Marc J. Frazier
This lovely poem was sent to me via Linkedin. I relish all the details and the lexical choices.
Skating through the Atlantic
A skate slipped off its skater, the ship glides
slanting through ocean depths till, two miles down,
it shudders on the sand. A bronze gong sounds
from Greenland to Antarctica, waking whales
from icy sleep, a long vibrating ‘Om’.
Scales shiver throughout the ocean, plankton
morphs, medusae shrink, oysters snap tight shut.
The water fills with spoons, chairs, chandeliers,
jewels, antiques, art, the dead, and diamond rings;
the seabed is a Tiffany of wares.
We may be sure we’ll lose all we bought dear
and memory is salt water that preserves
at random precious, or just worthless, stones.
So rust consumes the wrecks of age and love
and stars released from melting ice dissolves.
in best silver and bows,
we set out on high tide,
shipshape to the world.
And life was a teadance
for the beautiful and young,
as we cruised on a blanket
of honeyed and blithe.
But surface dwellers
rarely look under
for the city of ice
that will tear them asunder.
One seven stars night
we sailed, titanic,
into a colossus hiding
ready in the depths.
Immovable and staunch
sinks newborn and tender
every single time.
These three poems work together in summing up the aftermath of the sinking. Tomorrow will be the final day and I have something very special from a poet who wrote a whole collection around this endlessly fascinating subject.