USS Pasadena Underway


USS Pasadena Underway
Bow wake of the USS Pasadena, SSN 752, underway on the surface.

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.




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 . . .


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
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

I shivered, suspended between twin voids of black and silver.
But not in fear . . .

In awe.

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