poem © Jeffrey Beaty
September 1993 — 19 lines
Written after a late night visit to the top of the “sail” (conning tower) of the USS Pasadena, SSN 752, a nuclear submarine that was making way on the surface of the Persian Gulf.
Suspended For a brief time it was, but suspended in Time and Space so that it seemed an Eternity. An Eternity that ended all too soon. I was outside the realm of Here and Now— Suddenly free of that tight steel grip, that never-ending queue, that sourceless weight, and those sharp-cornered claws. I had climbed my way up and out of that troglodyte world to find myself suddenly . . . Suspended. I was floating free, unattached, yet hauled ever onward— Chained to the sculpted shoulders of the beast with the powerful thrum of silent wave drums and metronome gears singing up through my knees and palms as I knelt in that vast and dark cathedral. I shivered, there in the never-ending warm but damp breath of Night. I shivered, there above the black plow cutting a silver wake in the rolling field of stars. I shivered, there below the silver arch hanging in that ocean of darkness. I shivered, suspended between twin voids of black and silver. But not in fear . . . In awe.