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.