Shortly after nine
At Punta Arenas,
Notorious for fire even in this
Tierra del Fuego
A noble warship of the Queen’s
Went bang, and fell in smithereens.
First there was a noise
And all the glass blew in;
We were standing by the window at the time, and then
Dark smoke, bright flame, little smuts of flying men.
Naked from his bath,
Had plunged into the sea
When he felt the first explosion,
Surfacing in time to get his hair burnt by the second,
Treading water, weeping.
He was taken to the cabin of our boat,
Which thankfully survived,
And, too bemused to think of stooping,
Left a trail of smudges on the ceiling.