Category Archives: Occasional Poetry

When a Captain’s Boat Goes Down

It occurs to me that the title of my last article may not have raised the association that I intended in the minds of many of my readers. It rewords a line from a perfectly dreadful bit of doggerel titled, “Master and Man,” written by B. M. Hecht shortly after the sinking of the Titanic. Since it isn’t widely available, I’ll reproduce it here:

Master and Man

The Captain stood where a Captain should,
For the law of the sea is grim;
The Owner romped ere his ship was swamped,
And no law bothered him.

The Captain stood where a Captain should,
When a Captain’s boat goes down,
But the Owner led when the women fled
For an Owner must not drown.

The Captain sank as a man of rank,
While the Owner turned away;
The Captain’s grave was his bridge, and brave,
He earned his seaman’s pay.

To hold your place in the ghastly face
Of Death on the sea at night
Is a seaman’s job, but to flee with the mob
Is an Owner’s noble right.

Oy, that’s bad verse, but as Oscar Wilde told us about such things, it is sincere and ought to be read aloud in the halls of power daily.

Remembering the 11th of September 2001

The following is an occasional poem that I wrote Thursday morning, the 13th of September 2001.  At the time, I had been working on a science fiction novella about the water ice on the Moon, and during that week, I was trying to write five pages to read at my writers’ group that met on Fridays, but after the terrorist attacks, no words would come.  Until, that is, this poem popped out.  I wrote it in a flurry and have made only minor changes since then.  (This is one example of why the Muses feel real to me.)

I’m interested in the opinions that my readers have about this poem.  Here it is:

Blue morning over Manhattan rises
As the summer turns to fall.
Below, two towers, drawing all
The world, are reaching toward the sky.

Two towers, each the counterpart—
A bit of steel and a bit of clay,
Not angels, no, nor demons they—
Are both within the city’s heart.

One will ask what have we done,
And one will ask what will we do,
But where we stand decides the view
That can be seen beneath the sun.

Rising, rising, seeking light,
Two towers rise to hide the dark,
But darkness leaves its dyeing mark,
And day must fight against the night