The U-boat and the Whale




Undercurrent echoes of living flesh

sing through half-sunken subs:

sounds that, leaving Lincolnshire

and heading South, bounce around

The Wash, the Yarmouth Coast,

towards Sheerness.


In search of – what?

A rusty skeleton?


She hears his hunger songs and sings to him

with metal tongue, her own

‘Ich weiß es nicht.’


Her iron coffin voice –

depth charged, displaced –

rides North on winter waves.


She waits.

Then tries again.


Wo sind Sie jetzt?


Mud banks and hostile sands.


With ferrous blood in ferrous veins

and heavy heart,

she waits.


Artwork by Wendy Daws. Both the poem and the art were commissioned as part of the 23 Submarines Project with Icon Theatre supported by Arts Council England

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