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The Glacier Cruise

by plurabelle 

Posted: 18 February 2012
Word Count: 81
Summary: I've used some of James' suggestions and my visiting grand-daughter has rescued the poem from my computer illiteracy.

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Above, below the old ice-giant mumbles -
grumbles, chumbles away at this far-north fjord,
dropping his grungy debris grudgingly
into his U-shaped groove. A blue-ice berg
hovers beside madonna sky, will fall in time, not now.

Down here our scrap of ship, our slip
of grief and solace, slides in silent style.
On deck a couple smooth as satin glide
in strictest rhythm to the thrumming drum :
in rumba, samba, tango, walz - defy

with passionate precision, death and time.

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Comments by other Members

SarahT at 10:51 on 19 February 2012  Report this post
Hi Una,

I read the earlier version but hadn't worked out what I wanted to say about it before you posted this. I don't really need to think about that now because I think this version works better - mainly because the story in the first stanza is more coherent.

What I really like about this poem is the very clear sense of the changes in the landscape being a very slow dance across time. This was reflected in the rhythm of the first stanza before but I think the reflections are strengthened now.


Dave Morehouse at 21:07 on 19 February 2012  Report this post
I love the fact that you titled this piece Glacier Cruise and not "Titanic". It works for any cruise liner in the 1920-1960 time period. The idea of people dancing to their unknowing death makes for great literature in addition to great poetry. You do both well enough to turn me an envious green with this piece. The lurking 'chumbling' ice giant hooked me from the start. The solitary dancing couple on deck stands in wonderful contrast to the iceberg. Very nice work, Dave.

If I have it wrong and this IS about the Titanic then perhaps the ballroom dances should change if it is historical accuracy that you want. (Samba and Rumba were only started in Brazil in the 19 teens and didn't really catch on with European travellers until after WWI.) That said parenthetically, the Rumba, Samba, and Tango are easily identified by the reader as older ballroom dances so perhaps timeframe is of little concern.

TessaF at 23:22 on 19 February 2012  Report this post
Hi Una

Even though I loved this poem before,the changes really work well. It's just a fabulous piece of writing really - well done!


nickb at 21:12 on 20 February 2012  Report this post
Hi Una,I enjoyed the first version but this is better. I particularly like:

Down here our scrap of ship, our slip
of grief and solace, slides in silent style.

It sounds great, and there are some fabulous images. Great stuff.


James Graham at 12:09 on 21 February 2012  Report this post
This change works very well. I would still marginally favour replacing 'U-shaped' with another adjective, to do with the depth of the fjord perhaps, or suggesting it's a kind of receptacle or even dustbin! But even as I write this it begins to look like something that would spoil your poem.

This poem is one of the best uses of onomatopoeia, specifically of contrast expressed through the sound of words, that I've ever seen.


plurabelle at 17:59 on 22 February 2012  Report this post
Thanks to all of you for your generous responses to my poem - I was so anxious that it would be too obscure and over-the-top. Will try and be a little less tentative in future.

Seems to me that the group is going great guns at the moment !


V`yonne at 10:54 on 26 February 2012  Report this post
I didn't see the forst. This is an alliterative masterpiece - it all works perfectly.

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