Victory at Sea (for Damien, again and always)

Imagine for a moment we were never born…

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never carved from the misplaced passion of our parents,

never carried from room to room and gently told

this is that and that is this,

never set down to dry  in the sun

after splashing all afternoon in our rubber pool

and dream of driving the car we will never drive,

the hair we will never shave,

the places we will never go,

the thrills we can’t even imagine.

We would have never seen the newsreels

of how they raised the warships from the ice,

those armored giants with hearts of steel and steam

resurrected for some crazy purpose

that made men weep and women scowl.

Your Grandfather’s voice always shook as he told me

how the polar night had been

shattered by the sound of trumpets

when the first of the destroyers broke the surface.

You won’t remember this

but the ships had names like

OrpheusAkiraMemory Waltz, and Avenger of Death,

names spun like laughter at a funeral

or songs ringing from the radio.

The flowers were cast to the water

and the ships slipped forward,

cutting through lines of latitude

as dull grey knives

through memory, through history, the past,

aimed at an alien shore unseen.

Oh careful

that moment

when scarlet bursts

bloomed against the ashen sky,

when the shape of the land met

with the arms of the ocean and became one,

friend and enemy, lover and destroyer,

steel and cannon and slag and smoke,

the same moment your seed took root

and started to become

you…

In the white and blue room

the doctors all grinned

as they pulled you free.

I remember the future, I predict, I see:

the pink wet gloves,

the sweat stained shirts.

I remember, I know:

the faces split by smiles

as they held you high

as your lungs drew their first breath

as the radio crackled with news

of victory at sea, so far away,

so far from home.

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Happy Birthday, Little Man.

Ω

Poem © Simon Drax

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3 Comments

  1. Very nice….

  2. Beautiful, just beautiful. Always loved that. He’s a lucky lad.

  3. Happy Birthday JD. Love the poem.


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