Mooring Mast, a poem

USS Los Angeles does a spectacular nose stand whilst tied to the mooring mast at Lakehurst, New Jersey (1926). The 200-metre (660-foot) airship was upended by a turbulent wind, but slowly righted itself. There were no serious injuries to the crew of 25.
USS Los Angeles does a spectacular nose stand whilst tied to the mooring mast at Lakehurst, New Jersey (1926). The 200-metre (660-foot) airship was upended by a turbulent wind, but slowly righted itself. There were no serious injuries to the crew of 25. (Images: Navy Lakehurst Historical Society)

Airships and their lovers

A hopeless romantic—at least, when it comes to lighter-than-air flight—I have written my third airship poem. The first was Silently You Sail, on an airship in flight (the words became lyrics to the track by the same name on the Airship album), and the second, Sheltering Airships, on airships in their hangars.

Airships and their masts

This time, I have focused on the mooring mast. A mooring mast is a docking point for an airship. It is, essentially, an enormous tower fitted with a mechanism at its top to which the airship bow is fixed by a mooring line. I recently saw footage of this process and it reminded me of a kiss: shall we say, a finely judged procedure.

Left: British MPs walk onto the R101 airship gangplank, in Cardington, England, in the 1920s. (Image: Library of Congress) Right: A close-up view of an airship being prepared for undocking. (Image: Unknown)
Left: British MPs walk onto the R101 airship gangplank, in Cardington, England, in the 1920s. (Image: Library of Congress) Right: A close-up view of an airship being prepared for undocking. (Image: Unknown)

Airships and their battles

Winds and rain can cause an airship to lose altitude, especially in freezing conditions where ice forms on the hull. The airship is weighed down, making manoeuvering difficult or impossible, resulting in disaster. The poem describes the mooring mast as the lover of such an ill-fated airship. Like Silently You Sail and Sheltering Airships, it is short and sweet, but I hope it captures this fanciful romance:

Mooring Mast

The lonely tower waits in vain
In an icy field,
Unaware of what befell
The airship in the wind.

Earlier that fateful day,
Softly in the mist,
One last time the zeppelin
He had gently kissed.

FORGOTTEN FIELDS

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