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(13 January 2012)

T’was a cold January night off Italy, can still hear the cries fading

The cruise ship Costa Concordia capsized and sank while sailing

Past the island of Giglio, where a reef gashed her hull bare

Once called Poetry in Motion, became the Ship of Despair

The ship was carrying more than 4000 passengers and crew

But 32 did not make it that night – sad indeed but true

Floundering, drowning, thrashing in Mediterranean icy waters

They remain just a memory now to their spouses, sons and daughters

Captain Schettino was on the bridge that night with his Moldavian dancer

Tried to show her a trick or two of ship-handling and romance her

Passed too close to Le Scole reef, ordered the turn too late

Swung the broadside onto the reef, and that sealed his fate

There was a shudder and a blackout; pitch black darkness came calling

There were screams of panic, crash of dishes, people running and falling

Some passengers contacted harbour authorities as the ship began tilting

Captain ordered ‘Abandon Ship’ after an hour(!) of hemming and hawing

Sea water came rushing in searching nooks’n’crannies for secrets

The engine room was flooded soon; it was too late for regrets

Some jumped overboard to swim ashore; got injured and drowned

Many were trapped in the bowels of the ship, could not be found!

Captain jumped ship early by lifeboat; No ‘Women and children first!’

He didn’t care who survived or died – seamanship at its worst!

The crying of wet passengers and crew rang in chilly air

Drowned by the screaming seagulls who swooped down here and there

Most made it ashore by dawn, thanks to choppers and rescue boats

The search continued for two weeks for the missing and those afloat

The captain was arrested for manslaughter, 300 people abandoned

Who were left to fend for themselves; their lives made redundant

And now that the wakes are over, and the masses have been said

And the widows, widowers and orphans are left to mourn their dead

Seagulls still litter the sky, scream in a manner primordial

Sing the tragic saga of the wreck of the Costa Concordia….

(P.S. The wreck was set upright in the early hours of 17 September 2013. In July 2014, the ship was refloated and towed to Genoa to scrap. 31 people are known to have died. One missing person, Indian crew member Russel Rebello, was unaccounted for and presumed dead. His remains were finally found after the ship had been fully dismantled.)

© Beetashok Chatterjee

Fear Not!
The Fire


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