THE TITANIC, REVISITED


Look intently at this twisting pocket watch, my son,
Breathe deeply -- slowly, softly -- experience regression...

You are there, as you once were, don't hold back, tell me all,
I won't coax you, or deceive you, I'm your friend -- no crystal ball,

"... I'm a novice operator of this ship's newfangled wireless,
We've just received word of the new distress signal: 'S-O-S,'

Di-di-dit, ...dah-dah-dah, ...di-di-dit, it goes,
I hope we never use it -- with good luck, goodness knows

We'll send only messages with boring shipboard greetings,
Without thunderstorms, they won't need tedious repeatings,

Between watches, I think of this big ship's maiden voyage,
With many VIPs on board, most of them twice my age,

They say the hull is fashioned out of steel two inches thick,
I hope it's true -- we're making time -- I've not been feeling seasick,

A friend of mine is cabin boy to the Captain, I have heard,
I might get introduced, he may put in a few good words,

I'm back on watch -- it's ten p.m. -- don't know the bells like a sailor,
It seems my sleeve is fraying, I must take it to the tailor,

The rest of the night is one big blur -- everything happened so fast...
I remember sending S-O-S, the spark gap arcing till the last,

Up to my waist in water -- women shrieking -- someone praying,
No use to carry on here, 'Abandon ship,' an officer is saying,

Somewhere, someone found me, clinging to a banister, they said,
That water was so icy -- very lucky that I'm not dead, ..."

Were you there when that great ship went down? "I guess so."
"There are few, or maybe none of us around. Let me go."

Many years later -- retrospection of fallibility,
Hindsight says she broke up due to steel with no malleability.

                                                           by D. Edgar Murray