A funeral barge with impregnable bulkheads
the iceberg begins its maiden voyage in baffinland.
Terns in place of pennants top the crags.
Titanium hued, it rotates like a granite augur.

The frozen troll sheds a maggot.
Syphilis afflicts the hospital ship.
Luna dolorosa! Amanita virosa!
Hang out the sheet to dry overnight.

Its hull shrinking from the daylight,
its hidden ram already decomposing,
the barge enters beguiling waters,
destined to become what buoys it up.

They arrange the deckchairs to watch the sunset.
They joke about the portly dowager, probably German,
who tore through the canvas, ice-cubes from her drink
still rattling in the scuppers after the steward left.

Why do deckchairs cause angst? ponders the poet
whose pince-nez dangles like a plumb bob.
Those blue stripes resemble prison garb…
The frame offers repose but cannot float…

From mists on the southern horizon they conjure
a dreadnought camouflaged as a dormant rhino –
but it’s getting hard to shelter from the wind
and these plaid blankets are really quite thin.

Hilt ablaze with rubies, that knife slit
the ocean with the precision of obsidian.
At depths that suffocate volcanoes
barnacles are squeezed out of existence.

The natives of labrador carve trinkets from its flotsam.
On the orkneys they build huts from its battered lifeboats.
Washed up in portugal, an aristocrat’s fibula becomes
a pork skewer in the cuisine of some clever gypsy.

Born by the great atlantic gyre, its raft of wreckage,
constantly voiding substance like a sun-bound comet,
intersects the shipping lanes at long intervals,
exciting the grandkids with prospects of salvage.

Douglas Smith, formerly a teacher of Anthropology at York University, is a homeopathic physician.and author of several books on alternative medicine. It is claimed (although Dissident Voice has no proof of this!) that Doug and his partner grow the best garlic in Haliburton County. Read other articles by Douglas.