Across the Mists

She swam quickly through the icy water,
Her majestic nose breathing air between swells,
Carrying in her belly sons of the pater,
Mute robots returning from ocean’s hells.

The guns slept silently in their holes,
Weary after bullying a hapless vessel
That sank like a rock – for their side’s goals –
With mercy cutting down what icy deaths spell.

They felt nothing, neither joy nor pain
As the blue-black waters turned bloody;
Then the clouds cooled and sent fine rain,
The steam rising from the sea as a mist muddy.

And she swam quickly through the icy water,
Her majestic nose breathing air between swells,
Carrying in her belly sons of many a mater,
Mute robots saving the world from Aryan hells.

Their guns too slept, silent after a storm,
A coastal village of the Bismarck’s downed in fire –
The retreating army now sans any form,
Driven by an alliance into the war’s last pyre.

Among the two floating homes were many,
Krauts and Russkies, English and French,
And with the Sicilians retired in ignominy,
The war grew to a close, fought over
every German trench.

One was as silent as the other,
The cap’ns weary of their senseless campaigns,
For theirs was the lot not to ponder –
But merely, for their lands, cause on others pains.

The mist parted suddenly, perhaps with a divine brush,
And they saw each other away just a long rampart –
The waves rocking the boats in their crush –
Enemies sworn to tear each other apart.

The stars shone down on a listless sea;
The men, awake, rushed to their wards,
And their captains raised their glasses to see,
Poised to command the other all the way downwards.

And then they passed each other, unmoving,
Sick of firing the first shot, sick of surviving,
At another’s expense for a life of grieving…
And so, for once, they met and crossed silently…
…living.

R Sreeram
21st Mar, 2007

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