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

An invitation to wonder

A black and white photograph of an airship flying past a landmark in 1920s Berlin, whilst an onlooker waves his cap.
This photograph is from my airship image collection. It is one of my favourite pictures. It was taken as an airship passes near a Berlin landmark in the ’20s when sightseeing by airship was popular. The ship is saluted by an onlooker (perhaps me, in an alternate world).

Airship fanboy

I have been collecting airship images for nearly a decade. Truth be told, I know very little about them, historically and technically. I am just a simple fan. They fascinate me. My imagination is captivated by their scale. The idea of them slowly sailing overhead, like an enormous leviathan… it makes my heart beat faster!

US Navy airship Los Angeles in the giant Hangar at Lakehurst, New Jersey
US Navy airship Los Angeles in the giant Hangar at Lakehurst, New Jersey

Marvel with me…

I attempt to capture such an overhead flight in one of the tracks I have written for the Airship album. The track is titled “Giant in the Sky”. I cannot wait to share it! When I wrote it, I pictured myself gazing up in awe as the ship passes over, blocking out the sun—imposing, awe-inspiring! Just look at the size of the USS Los Angeles (above) and the USS Macon (below). How small the people are in comparison—the airships are mind-blowingly massive!

The music I wrote for Airship is nothing more than an invitation for others—for you—to marvel at the giants with me. Join me in the fields and we’ll look up in wonder, forgetting our sorrows, for a moment…

Construction of the USS Macon
Construction of the USS Macon

FORGOTTEN FIELDS