The Queen

On deck I feel the cold night airs
Wintry gusts and blasts occur
A North Atlantic drizzle bares
my heart for things that were.

The splendor of the this ship abhors
The thought that only five and ten years past
We fought the war to end all wars
and know the blessed peace will last

Below the ocean in the darkness lurks
the sounds and smells of salt air meet,
warm fumes, the excrement of giant works
nine decks below my feet.

For primacy the ship and ocean fight
This time the ocean adds its own Hurrah!
humbled by an iron city, bedecked with light
like a floating Mardi Gras

Within this cocoon of comfort curled
we don't imagine in our trans Atlantic haste
The people struggle in a broken world
of idle men and dust bowl waste

We dance to muted orchestra each day
and dine on oysters pried, just five days lost
from slimy shoals of Firth of Tay
and worry not about the cost

The decks are teak, a work of pride
from the kings own empire jungle came
worked by craftsmen on the Clyde
we'll never see the likes again

But now ship is dark, asleep we lay
partway between the gone and come
as nature adds an hour to each day
and the bells are rung

Servers and helpmates slumber well
They feed and serve and make us laugh
now waiting for the early bell,
to rise and toil on our behalf

Panels made from ancient oaks on Tenerife
Brass as shiny as the rising day
Her majesty in subtle bas relief
hold court o'er silent passageway

My cabin is a marvel to behold
Ships clock keeps passengers on task
The bath has knobs for hot and cold
and salt and fresh and sherry from the cask

Our comfort is no trifling affair
Large controls for steam and heat
another one for fresh sea air
A brass electric fan shall see the two will meet

Elegant restaurants fore and aft
A bar and lounge as hidden lair
A masseur to keep from going daft
A barber sooths my wind-blown hair

Deck chairs empty of their daily load
of pink cheeked aging debutantes
hoping for that one big fling
before becoming maiden aunts.

On darkened bridge the captain's thinking
His brows beneath the braid in frown
Of hidden fears of past ships sinking
that brought the mighty down

I walk the promenade times five
one mile I'm told, but seeming more
Somehow it makes me feel alive
like nothing that I've done ashore.

My ocean trip is broke by noise nearby
the sound, an ugly loud report
the Boeing climbs in mottled evening sky
from Long Beach Airport

January 2000