The Mighty Hood

HMS Hood visits Dundee
HMS Hood at Dundee in 1936 (Dundee Telegraph)

Forty six thousand tons of twisted steel
Litter the bottom of the Denmark Strait.
Fourteen hundred men met a dreadful fate
When the Hood exploded, to reveal
The brutally identical seal
To their stories. Hitherto disparate
Strands cut. Fire and water extirpate
All life, all ability to feel
Leaving nothing but a feast for fishes
In place of the manifold hopes and dreams
Of men who’d had a life before the war
And would have had one still, with their wishes
For friendship, love, food, sex, anything seems
Preferable to the mid-ocean floor.

HMS Hood explodes
The Hood explodes

Did he really matter? I ask. I
Ponder the death of my Uncle who died
With hundreds of others. His mother cried
When the boy with the telegram called by
To deliver the news. I suppose. My
Birth was in the future. Were she dry-eyed
Mother Courage, gifting children’s lives I’d
Never know. The charge levied to incise
His name at Chatham enraged his parents.
They baulked, so he went unremarked save for
The brother he’d sung with at New Year in
Welsh raising pennies for treats, sister, once
Worshipping younger brother, cousin sure
To carry his torch. He mattered to kin.

Uncle Melville

Is death the end? We cannot know for sure
However strong our faith doubt must remain
For those who’ve passed are mute. In vain
We seek answers from them who’ve gone before.
We should live life as if there is no more
And help our fellows to live theirs, sustain
With love the bonds we share with all, refrain
From hatred, ego, greed, those dogs of war
That drive the killing madness as men take
From others what they hold themselves most dear.
‘Live and let live’ must become our watchwords.
Tolerance begets trust, once men forsake
Violence then knowledge vanquishes fear
And Perfect Peace leads mankind’s march onwards.