P. 1
Alang the Graveyard of Ships

Alang the Graveyard of Ships

|Views: 391|Likes:
The poem was inspired by documentary footage on the virtual slave labour of workers in Alang who worked to tear apart old ships - war ships, tankers and such - for scrap metal.
An abridged form of the poem has been published in Quadrant. This is the complete text.
The poem was inspired by documentary footage on the virtual slave labour of workers in Alang who worked to tear apart old ships - war ships, tankers and such - for scrap metal.
An abridged form of the poem has been published in Quadrant. This is the complete text.

More info:

Published by: J.R. Poulter aka J.R.McRae on Aug 14, 2009
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

09/07/2013

pdf

text

original

Alang, The Graveyard of Ships

J.R.McRae
(A port in India where ships are run aground & broken up for scrap metal by native labourers.) They come slowly, cutting the surface, Setting the long, rolling ripples to wallow in the ocean's loll …. There is no path, but in the mind are lines Dissecting continents and seas, Dissecting ships and the men that move on them. The vast deep brooding calm is surface only, Strange fish glide in darkness where undercurrents draw Into the jaws of stranger prey.

Slowly the great ships slide down the slip of ice waves, Cut their path where kelp gardens wave their fronds - to wipe away The stir of waters - the ships have passed. Now, like ailing whales they rush the beach Cutting deep and fast - the sand holds. Strange fish drove down and begin to nibble. This last, the iron warrior, cuts the water The great dark engines burning in its bowels The pain of soldiers carried into fire, Dark wounds that veterans carry to the grave. It has run the gamut of last guns and sinks into the sand. The waves lap at its silence, Seagulls pick at the reflections of its empty eyes. There begins the slow demobbing, The giant gaunt as P.O.W.s abandoned in the wake of war, Minion little fish pick round the hull, Dark forms above move about their myriad tasks. Nothing is spared the fire of desperate men Whose children cry far off the pain of empty guts.

The waters lap around the lines of feet Carrying careful destruction in their wake. The wound tears open salt sears The sweaty surge of men rip down What rust has barely time to gnaw Hungry men break down and down the monster With bare hands and rough-shod implements. The living war breaks down to individual acts of pain. The ship is burning - piece by piece the welding and soldering of armies Is undone by men who cry, "For blood, my child, my blood!" And suffer the indignity of need, muffling their anger in the sand. Fire, rust and bloodstains of survivors blend, Their bleeding is internal and the scars Won't show on the embattled shells. Heat, that rivers creased up men, that simmers on dismissiled decks Where uniforms once shimmered and blazed, Heat will meld awaited wars and practised tragedies Poured into the mould of men with routine needs Blood money cannot meet. This is a graveyard for the living where death is berthed And salt corrodes the soul.

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->