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Featured Poem II • November 2017

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Submerged

 

Maura McHugh

 
 

Nearly two centuries, drowned, Little disturbs our frigid rest In Stygian waters, Partitioned by the white veneer. We remember above, dimly . . . Blue skies, heaving waves, Crying gulls dodging full, proud sails, A calling crew, intent upon discovery. Our body contained life, Until it was squeezed out, slippery,  By the implacable ice; Our dear boys died beyond our bow. Then the great fall  Into still solitude. Only the whales sing mourning hymns, When they troop past. Finally, explorers spy Our shattered masts, The kelp-crusted wheel, And capsized bronze bell. They do not know It has repeatedly rung  Muted, dolorous tunes Entreating the dead back to our hold. If we resurface It shall toll, And our crew will rise,  To clamber again upon our weeping deck.

On the discovery of HMS Terror on 3 September 2016 submerged in an Arctic bay, after 168 years lost.

 

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Maura McHugh lives in the Irish countryside, in a house watched over by rooks and visited by hares. Her short fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in publications in America and Europe. She’s published two collections—Twisted Fairy Tales and Twisted Myths—in the USA. She’s written several comic-book series and is also a screenwriter, playwright, and a critic, and she has served on the juries of international literary, comic-book, and film awards. Her latest book is a monograph on David Lynch’s iconic film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, published by Electric Dreamhouse Press/PS Publishing. Her website is http://splinister.com and she tweets as @splinister.

About “Submerged,” she shared, “I wrote this poem shortly after reading about the discovery of HMS Terror’s final resting place in an Arctic bay after being missing for so long. The piece I read included a picture of the bell on the deck of the ship. I was struck by the lonesomeness of the ship, abandoned by its crew, and shut away from the sky and sea swell. As my tendency is to horror, and considering the name of the wrecked craft, my resultant poem skewed to the ghostly.”

 

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