Lines of rivets, plates of iron, portholes of burnished brass,

Companionways, decks of teak, third second and first class.


Smoke rising from funnels three, although one counted four,

Thrusting blades set at the rear, torque from the engine’s core.


To sail upon the briny sea, across the ocean’s waste,

A crucible of hope and wealth, forging forth in haste.


The grandest ship ever seen; sculpted metal made to float;

Chiselled bow to cut the wave, path for that mighty boat.


A crystal chandelier just there, above the stairway floor;

The skill of the Carver’s hand displayed on every door.


Melodies from key and string, hung quivering in the air;

All a’rhythm Maestros swayed, enchanting listeners there.


Pulsating pride of Belfast Town, beauty laced with power;

Perhaps a folly hidden there, like Babel’s fabled Tower.


On a course true and straight, it met the ice wall steep;

Then that glorious broken thing plunged into the deep.


Scattered it lies to this day, decayed by rot and rust;

An island on the ocean bed for creatures that encrust.


To be remembered evermore, from that awful night;

For the perished and the brave; an eternal burning light.


Monty Alexander 9.1.99


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