John F. McCullagh

Gold Star - 4,762 Points (09/28/1954 / Flushing)

Pearl, The Aftermath - Poem by John F. McCullagh

TAP, TAP, TAP- Over here! Over here!
We hear their frantic tapping.,
sailors trapped in the capsized ship
with the water levels rising.

We work with acetylene Torches,
work quickly as the December sun dies.
The smell of blood and oil mixes
I'm too numb to let myself cry.

Work is my only salvation
for me and the men down below.
I am racing with time to their rescue
A race I might lose even so.

Tap, tap, tap, the sound growing fainter
some sailors have died as they wait
Others survive, breathing foul air
Praying for deliverance from fate.

My naked back glistens with Sweat
as we manage a breech in the hull
I grasp the hand of a survivor,
a stranger who now I knew well.

The sun settles red in the West
A red ball like I saw on the planes.
Yet Pearl is not totally dark
we continue to work by its flames

Poet's Notes about The Poem

During the attack on Pearl Harbor,12/7/41, the battleship Arizona exploded killing almost the entire crew. Nearby the battleship Oklahoma was hit by torpedoes and capsized trapping scores of men below deck. This poem describes the work of sailors on the upturned hull of the Oklahoma struggling to save these men who signaled their location by tapping with wrenches upon the interior. this is a work of FACTION. This event did happen as described by I have compressed the timeline and cast myself in the role of a nameless sailor working on the rescue.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Poem Edited: Thursday, June 14, 2012

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