Pyke, from his Massachusetts madhouse,
as a divine craft, an Ark impervious to torpedoes.
ICE is with us, ICE will win this war,
Mountbatten. With a draft of one hundred and fifty feet,
two million tons displacement, it could carry
twin-engine planes, three thousand men,
and required no steel to assemble,
only water and pulp.
Onboard, the men lived in cork-paneled cabins,
skated down corridors to deliver urgent messages.
A miracle ship,
organically arisen from the element
it moved in, indistinguishable from its medium,
formed by Nature’s design,
not the Royal Navy’s. Even her weaponry
resembled God’s own: “brine guns” which would
encase the enemy
in ice like straw in glass, or block his harbor
will a flotilla of icebergs. Churchill himself approved
draining White Bay
for its construction and ordered all cork
immediately diverted to Canada, where a prototype
built by conscientious
objectors lasted through the summer
disguised as a boathouse. By then Allies
in France, and the project was scrapped—
Mountbatten threatened to lock him up again,
paying no attention
to a new plan for smuggling assassins
into Berlin in boxes marked “Officers Only”
on the grounds
that the Germans were an obedient race.
Love and duty stir men to action, but war
makes us dream:
before his suicide he shaved his beard,
head. Outside, wet snow fell hard against
as though to clear it for another world.