THE LUSITANIA SUITE (1979 ORIGINAL)

 

The Lusitania....

The Lusitania….

 

This poem was originally written by me back in 1979, and I have only just rediscovered it. It comes from a time when I was just beginning to note down thoughts, ideas, and impressions  about the tumultuous, gilded history of the great ocean liners.

One of the obvious stand out stories from that age was the destruction of the fabled Cunarder, the Lusitania.

The story created shock waves at the time- it heralded what many called the true beginning of ‘total war’.

Even now, almost exactly a century later, the ripples from this incredibly controversial story have never truly subsided. The great ship sleeps fitfully, shrouded in half truths, myth, and uneasy silence.

Hence, this poem. Reproduced exactly as it was written way back then, in an attempt to convey some of my own personal impressions of the sinking, itself one of the great turning points of  what was, up till that stage, the bloodiest global conflagration in the history of mankind. And, also, intended as a tribute to a ship that was, perhaps, the ultimate Trojan Horse- Lusitania.

 

THE LUSITANIA SUITE

There was drizzle in New York on the day you sailed

But the streamers rained down and the sirens wailed

For Lusy- you’re oh, so used to it now

Lusy baby- you’re gonna miss it all, and how

 

With your speed they once called you ‘Queen of the Sea’

But you’re not the same lady that you used to be

Are you, Lusy? The years have brought you  fame

Times have changed now; you’re playing a risky game

 

A flower caught up in a thorny war

Or an ocean queen humbled to the stature of a whore?

Which one is it- though it’s hard to endure

Contraband the answer; keep it under for sure

 

Newspapers warned about happenings drastic

But now the golden people trip the light fantastic

Aboard the Lusy; they live it high and fine

What a slummer; reality’s about to call time

 

There’s a U-boat lurking in the eastbound lane

Captain is cool and he knows his game

Sights on Lusy- sailing high and fine

One torpedo; smack below the waterline

 

Too late; too late

The die is cast

Lunch ends quickly

Damn that blast

Rising panic and rising water

Capsized lifeboats add to the slaughter

Billy, try and beach her

The land’s so near

Dear God SOS

Why don’t they hear?

Too late, it’s over

It’s over too soon

The other big one

At least went down with a tune

 

The sad, sad total; twelve hundred dead

The great ship down off Kinsale’s Old Head

Goodbye Lusy; maybe that’s not the whole story

Don’t dig too deep; it doesn’t smack much of glory.

 

 

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