O Beautiful Ship

O Beautiful Ship

A Poem by Richard Williams

The Titanic.


It was a tall and beautiful ship,
a behemoth built in Belfast by a thousand men,
the largest moving thing of its day made by man.
And yet with all of its luxury and splendor and magnitude,
the anchors of carelessness weighed heavy, and caution slept,

and death waited cold beyond the very next sunset.

And so with its British crew, with the rich, the well-to-do,
with immigrants and those who fed boilers with coal,
she left Southampton to stretch her legs in the vast Atlantic.
The sea was quiet and calm, and the sea-floor fell away,
and the frigid night looked down with a thousand eyes
as Titanic powered across the deep ocean without concern.
Plates of iron bound with a million rivets was this ship,
yet they were only so strong, and they would be no match
to the force that awaited them by a mountain of undersea ice.

Iceberg Ahead!  came the call from the crow's nest,
yet she could not port around in time, her rudder was too small.
And so rivets snapped, and plates buckled, and the sea poured in,
and her fate was sealed on a moonless April night in a calm sea.
There were watertight doors, but to no avail, the damage was too great.
There were lifeboats, but not for everyone; many were lowered half empty.
There was the newfangled radio, the repeated pleas from the wireless, 
but help was far away, much too far to save the souls who would perish.

This beautiful ship, in all its elegance, would succumb to a light-less abyss.
Down by the head, it sank lower and lower, her stern rising above the sea.
There were great bellowing moans from deep within, boilers broke free
smashing bins and bulkheads-- all lifeboats released, life ebbing away.
Then in a cataclysm of agony, Titanic broke in two, and plunged to her grave.

Deep in the Atlantic she lies, broken and scattered in the Laurentian sand.
In time, even the iron will dissolve back into the earth from which she came.
For those who survived, there were tales, testimonies, and a second chance.
For those who died, they are part of the continuing legacy of Titanic,
a legacy that lives on, a legacy of a grand and beautiful ship.

© 2010 Richard Williams

My Review

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This was fantastic- it had wonderful details that spoke without speaking, and it really made you think. :)

Posted 10 Years Ago

The last stanza was awesome. The first seemed more like a prose. The remaining stanzas were good. "with the novel distress code of SOS,": I guess abbreviations shouldn't be used in poetry.. :)

PS. I think this poem refers to the titanic? :)

Keep writing.

Posted 10 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on November 26, 2010
Last Updated on November 27, 2010
Tags: Titanic, Belfast, behemoth, God, British, boilers, Atlantic, iron, rivets, iceberg, April, lifeboats, SOS, grave, sediment