Poetry 56: Any news of the iceberg? by Les Barker

polar-bear-173133_640

On a cold rainy night on a Liverpool quayside
In the years before the great war
The world was in shock at the loss of Titanic,
So proud had they been days before:
Relatives gathered for news of their loved ones,
To read through the list of the dead,
When into the throng came a sad eyed old polar bear:
And to the clerk at the counter he said:

Have you got any news of the iceberg?
My family were on it you see:
Have you got any news of the iceberg?
They mean the whole world to me.

My wife and my children were coming from Greenland,
To be by my side in the zoo:
Belinda’s my wife, and the eldest’s called Bernard:
And Billy, well, he’s only two.
I know on the ship there were hundreds of people,
And I know that the iceberg’s not yours:
The polar bear’s eyes held the start of his teardrops:
He covered his face with his paws.

Have you got any news of the iceberg?
My family were on it you see:
Have you got any news of the iceberg?
They mean the whole world to me.

It’s been over a year since I last saw my children,
I left home to build a career:
I’ve worked very hard, I’m a star in the circus:
It’s all been for nothing I fear.
There’s my face on the poster: we’re in town this week:
My children were meeting me here:
Everyone watched as he struggled to speak,
As his paw brushed away one more tear:

Have you got any news of the iceberg?
My family were on it you see:
Have you got any news of the iceberg?
They mean the whole world to me.

By now all the people had gathered beside him,
His grief was one they could share:
The people around him, in silence and sadness
Listened to the sad polar bear
I wanted my children to see me performing:
And Belinda, she would have been proud..
At last lost for words, and his tears flowing freely,
The question was asked by the crowd:

Have you got any news of the iceberg?
My family were on it you see:
Have you got any news of the iceberg?
They mean the whole world to me.

Image courtesy of www.pixabay.com

About Barry Daniel

I live in the Lake District in the UK where I run a guesthouse with my partner Kate and my cat Manuel. I enjoy painting, hillwalking, reading, visiting and entertaining friends, T’ai Chi and playing the guitar. I’m engaged to a certain degree in the local community, as a volunteer with Samaritans and I’m a fairly active member of the local Green party. I’ve had a relatively intuitive sense of the Middle Way most of my adult life but it found a greater articulation and a practical direction through joining the society. It’s also been interesting and great fun engaging with other people with a similar outlook. My main contribution to the society is conducting the podcast interviews, something that gives me a lot of satisfaction and that I’ve learnt a lot from.

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