Norway – April to June 1940 back

The Chrobry's Last Cruise – 1940

M.S. Chrobry passenger-cargo ship In imagination I picture Slavic beauties,
Proud breasts, moulded into Parisienne haute couture;
Their silken golden hair cascading,
Tawny tigress eyes smouldering
As they entice handsome counts,
Descended from an ancient regime,
Bearing unpronounceable names,
And wearing glittering baubles
Upon breasts of immaculate tuxedos.
Round and round the ballroom they whirl
H.M.S. Wolverine To medleys of Strauss waltzes;
Whilst the Chrobry, gleaming white,
Carves her course
Through the wine dark waters of the Med.
Ahead, the hedonistic fleshpots of Alex.

Below decks, through deep sleep
I sensed the dull thuds, and I knew.
Up gangways, up up, race up,
In their wake, the Heinkels now gone
The Heinkel He 111. A Luftwaffe medium bomber. Have left a rising pall of acrid smoke,
Enshrouding Chrobry's funnel;
The deck of H.M.S. Wolverine
Seemed a long way down:
Mustn't fall off the scrambling net,
There's a lot of brass monkey water below.
I made it, I was agile then,
Our colonel and his captains didn't;
Sleeping in top deck cabins
They caught the Heinkels' full load.
The Chrobry, after being bombed With the ship their fate to die,
'Neath chill waters of the fjord, still they lie.

In imagination I picture them,
Spirits of beautiful Polish countesses
With unpronounceable names,
Take a Norwegian cruise:
Round and round the Chrobry's ballroom
They dance to medleys of Strauss waltzes,
With our colonel and his captains. back

• Text © T. E. McAuley 2005 •
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