Hydrogen


LZ-129, 97 aboard. Piercing God's
flood of clouds like humanity’s
ark, its shadow engraves the water,
diffracting its wake. Air-
ship of dreams, traversing earth,
skimming the sun's face of fire.

Ailerons, tempered by fire,
lay a course across the heavens,
an icarian defiance against earth's
mighty pull. And we mortals,
suffered thus to soar through air,
to bridge this abyss of water.

'H' – For an instant the waters
reflect an elemental symbol. Engines fire
a final approach to Lakehurst Naval Air;
then the full emblazon, as if the Lord’s
hand writ the tablature of human
frailty, 'HINDENBURG', on earth.

Near moored, to be winched to earth;
bow-trimmed, even-keeled by water
ballast. Suddenly, what no one
expected, explosion, fire –
"Starboard! Aft!" – a fury, act of Fate,
hydrogen flames engulfing air.

The bow rips, exposing to air
a frail skeleton, tilting to earth,
flinging passengers into Providence.
Dreams dissemble into ash; water
sublimates into fire;
we watch, helpless to a soul.

"Crashing to the ground... oh, the humanity!"
We surge screaming to the wreck, air
strangled with smoke, dreams a fire-
chalked silhouette across the earth.
And faith unravels like a contrail over water:
Nearer my God, nearer my God -

All around, burnt air, scorched earth,
untethered fire; so, this vale of water,
this coil of man - Nearer to thee my God.


11 comments:

  1. Short link - http://bit.ly/s4H001

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  2. Wow. This one made me cry. I didn't see it coming. The hand, the Hindenburg, the Icarus beneath the surface = the science of poetry made manifest. I didn't expect a historical moment somehow, with the first fiery stanzas, so it hit me strongly. "So this vale of water, this coil of man.."

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  3. Wow! I am blown away, Sam!! Love everything about this..the imagery especially, considering how I love experiencing a poem with all my senses. You continually amaze me with your talent. Great job.

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  4. great poem.
    i enjoyed the imagery that you projected into my mind.
    Keep writing!

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  5. Thanks so much for the kind words. This isn't the first sestina I've attempted, but the first to survive the editing process.

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  6. And yet the form is the least noticeable part of the poem. Awesome work, Sam.

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  7. Seriously - I didn't catch the structure on the first or second go-round. What strikes me most on contemplation is the active voice you use - serious verbs, like "rips" and "engraves", "surge" and "unravels." This is a poem where the words (sorry, there's no way to say this pun-less) explode at the reader off the screen/page. Lovely.

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  8. Nicely written poem, loved it!
    Keep up your great work!
    All the best
    Marinela

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  9. Thank you! I think I may work my way through the entire periodic table of elements.

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  10. Yet another tour-de-force. I like this "Sestina" form and will attempt taking it up as well.

    BTW - I have put out a call for submissions at my site. I'm sure you could easily cinch that challenge and it would be an honor to receive something from you:

    http://www.obsidianeagle.com/p/submission-guidelines.html

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