Diane Hine

(25 July 1956)

Sunken


A mini-sub’s spotlights probe hard-packed,
black Atlantic water and excavate a slipshod
line of cracked and crusted aircraft,
as brittle and blind as terracotta warriors.
Sand obscures a flight deck.
A slant conning tower, scabbed and asymmetrically
spiked, marks an aircraft carrier’s grave.

The carrier’s hull has vanished.
Thin, disintegrating metal sheets, ribbed
and veined with pipes, like threadbare
leaves, delicately point from trembling
dunes of gluey wood sludge.

Soft-skinned, mucus-limned and uniformly wan,
a host of lignin lovers gorge on pulped forest.
Tunnelling teredos breach and dive,
like dolphins or time-lapsed strangler vines.
Amphipods graze.
Dunes are aquiver with tiny gribbles and strewn
with the colourless blooms of deep sea urchins.

The carrier’s hull,
(frozen wood pulp and water, twelve metres thick,
netted with refrigeration pipes, cork-insulated,
torpedo resistant and self-healing)
has melted.

Here lies HMS ‘Fabrication’, a kamikaze casualty.
Miraculously, the entire crew survived!

Yes okay, the scene is fabricated.
Seventy years ago, Churchill placed an order
for eleven ice-hulled aircraft carriers.
Sadly perhaps, plans and prototype were scuttled.
Happily however, a swathe of innocent forests were saved.

Submitted: Monday, June 03, 2013
Edited: Tuesday, June 04, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

‘Project Habakkuk’ was abandoned in December,1943.
‘Asterechinus elegans’ is a wood-eating deep sea urchin.

Comments about this poem (Sunken by Diane Hine )

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  • Danny Draper (6/8/2013 6:51:00 AM)

    It is amazing to imagine planned ships and scenarios for their demise although never being constructed ultimately took care of that. Fine imagery and descriptive language. (Report) Reply

  • Captain Cur (6/5/2013 5:04:00 AM)

    Crikey, I think I learned a new word. Curious how many kamikaze hits
    it took to bring her down. Nicely written with a moral ending. If we stopped
    blowing each other up we'd have a lot more pretty trees to look at. Amazing
    that monster ships like that will eventually be eaten by the sea.
    Good think I'm on a ghost ship. It's not very platable. (Report) Reply

  • Valsa George (6/5/2013 4:15:00 AM)

    The last vestiges of a wrecked air craft carrier! She set out from the port and nothing was heard there after except some debri found evidently buried deep in the ocean or drifting about for many many years with sea weeds and sea urchins flaunted at their sides! It is a miracle that the entire crew survived! ! Were you in the excavation squad by the way? A terrific write! ! (Report) Reply

  • Bobby Wynn (6/4/2013 4:18:00 PM)

    I was on the famous Kitty Hawk from 76 thru 78. Nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there again. (Report) Reply

  • David Wood (6/4/2013 5:01:00 AM)

    Your poem brought back memories, I used to scuba dive and spent many a time exploring wrecks in the English channel. (Report) Reply

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