Herbert Nehrlich

Rookie (04 October 1943 / Germany)

Her Last Cruise - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich

The ancient window, looking to the Bay
had been her final stop, she simply had
collapsed into the rosewood rocking chair,
a cry of pain escaped when pelvic bones
collided with no subcutaneous cushion.

Eleven months of feverish malignant growth
had eaten all her outer shell, her beauty,
embarrassed doctors had touched and pinched
and mumbled skin and bone, some said cachexia,
so, when the funds dried up her treatment did,
as if now, seemingly, no more could be achieved.

To have a clear and unobstructed view,
to sweep with dying eyes the foreign ships
that spilled their sailors onto the Esplanade
she'd given all the panes a spot of chemotherapy,
just the inside, of course, the way they'd done to her.
It did the job of plain clarification,
decided things, obliterated wants and silly needs
for her, it made her feel as if she had, by some mistake,
obtained admission to a movie, not her choice.

And folding seats, guarded by evil-tempered men
had trapped her body while the ushers merely smiled.
A flock of frigate birds yelled out as if to wake
a failing spirit that was wanted at the Pier.

Her eyes were heavy now, projecting memories,
accompanied by happy laughter in the street,
a melody that only ice cream trucks can play.
Her smile was lovely, without the missing flesh,
a bearded officer who took her waiting arm so gently,
the handsome pair were greeted by the Captain,
a lavish dinner, had been prepared for all.

Indeed, it was the time they both had chosen,
to tell a thousand people, all ready for the cruise
of many thousand happy miles to reach the shore
of liberty, where a new chapter was commencing on page one.

Oh yes, the sound! It came with sudden force,
only the Dutch would hog those boastful decibels.
It briefly woke her now and placed a frightened frown
onto the lines above two sunken eyes, and, for
a fleeting moment, she was back, awaiting death,
here, in her loneliness, inside a rosewood rocking chair.

But, there she was, Her Majesty, once christened Statendam,
and things were really true again, no cruel dream
would be allowed by her creator, in his kindness.
The horn again, it drowned all sounds across the bay,
and then she went, leaving behind her most angelic smile.

Comments about Her Last Cruise by Herbert Nehrlich

  • (5/10/2006 7:19:00 PM)

    Agree, mein F, with all the comments. (Report) Reply

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  • (5/9/2006 5:28:00 PM)

    An insightful poem and story that is rich with thought, and imagery. Enjoyed being the outsider looking in, and the amount of sympathy in understanding a moment perhaps we all wish we could end with. (Report) Reply

  • (5/9/2006 7:29:00 AM)

    I love the language and the mood here, Herbs. I didn't say so before as I always seem to be saying this about your poems and I don't like to sound either repetitive or insincere.
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, May 9, 2006

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