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Thursday 7 February 2013

An Incident at Sea

Like a giant locust
green and yellow
thwwwum-p thwwwum-p thwwwum-p
looking for a stalk of corn 
                           to land.
            printed on its side.

A deck hand
armed only with a tall step ladder
makes his way around the stern
from lamp to lamp
climbs each one as he comes to it,
removes the globe
and moves on to the next.

The locust's getting tetchy now
and belly-wiggles -- much to say
Get on with it, for 
Time is of the essence, man.

       the lights are down
there's room now for the rotor blades...
thwwwum-p thwwwum-p thwwwum-p
reminders come
              that it's still there.
The deck hand joins his mates --
there's still some clearing to be done:
deck chairs, loungers, 
tables, food stalls.
                  Only then...

but finally
           we're ready for...
One deck up, we're crowding forward
cameras and smart phones ready for...
It's Action...?

No, the ambulance completes a final circuit,
     and disappears.
                    Show over folks.
Dispiriting to realise
(I don't at first)
                  the reason why
the need for it has passed.

This is a rewrite of an older poem. You can read the original version here.


Brian Miller said...

really interesting elements to this dave....from the locust...to the deck hands...to the accident that happened and we watched and never really thinking about why....shows over....

Manicddaily said...

Yikes - did someone die on the ship? No point to send them by helicopter to safety? Amazing how we focus on the process and technology in these incidents -though granted, this one sounds pretty amazing. Great title. k.

Gerry Snape said...

that's an intriguing puzzle of a poem!...but I like that very much...yes boats and locusts and the deck hands clearing things....great!

Mary said...

Yikes, that ending saddens me. If there is no need for the ambulance.......how I wish there were!

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

It's surprising, a great impact. The end a powerful punch.

Kass said...

Love the beating in and out of the action - like it has been scored by the helicopter blades. It seemed I was viewing it in slow motion.

Thank you for your kind comment on my blog.

A Cuban In London said...

It flowed seamlessly and smoothly. Very evocative, especially the locust image. Many thanks, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Greetings from London.

Cloudia said...

Good poetry is readable, this is.
Draws one in.
Imparts, more than it tells or even shows.
I have no time to waste.
You never waste it.

Sending YOU Aloha
from Honolulu,
Comfort Spiral
~ > < } } ( ° >

sunny said...

Hi Mr Dave,lovely thought

Ygraine said...

This poem kept me intrigued throughout, Dave.
It is a true enigma...did someone die?
And such a powerful ending...when we realise the ambulance is no longer needed.
Yes, they must have died!

A thoroughly engrossing write Dave.
Many thanks :)

Dave King said...

Hi! Everyone
and many thanks for the truly interesting replies.

To answer the one outstanding question, yes, sadly, a passenger who had been taken ill (we think, though we were not given full details) did die.

We have been on a few cruises and have several times had to "heave to" and were able to watch as a patient was taken aboard a life boat which was then lowered for him/her to be taken ashore and met by an ambulance. This was our only experience of an air ambulance. It left everybody quite stunned when it simply flew away.

Thanks again everyone.