Collateral damage on ths shores of Halifax Harbour.

In Remembrance
Collateral Damage on the shores of the Halifax Harbour

They felt safe from the war,
here at home
on the shores of Halifax Harbour.

Mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers,
teachers and preachers;
left behind when the boys of Nova Scotia
crossed over the pond
from Pier 21.

As did the sons from other harbours.
From Musquodoboit to Sydney.
Lunenburg to Digby.
They came.

Vital, virile young men.
Not yet sculpting the life they were destined to make
for their eternity.
Some hadn’t spilled blood shaving.
They spilled it instead on Flanders Fields.

With troops ships anchored row upon row,
down harbour in the Bedford Basin,
awaiting their next load of “My Soldier” men,
and long snaking trains bringing sons and brothers
from across the land,
the unthinkable happened one day in December
to thousands upon thousands of those
mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters,
teachers and preachers of the
boys of Nova Scotia,
who thought they were safe at home
on the shores of Halifax Harbour.

They watched from their windows,
not knowing the danger,
in awe of the scene.
They watched from the Mi’kmaq village in Tufts Cove,
All to be lost.
A tsunami.
In Halifax Harbour.

There was fire on the French vessel, Mont Blanc.
She was all the way up from New York.
Her hull loaded.
Munitions for war, bound for France.

At 8:45 that cold December 6 of ‘17,
with little brothers and sisters
lining for class,
the captains of Mont Blanc and the vessel S.S. Imao,
attentions distracted that early morning day,
allowed their ships to kiss steel upon steel
in the Narrows.

Mothers and fathers even brothers and sisters,
teachers and preachers
lined the streets of Richmond District
and all other shores,
both sides of the harbour.
Not knowing they were not safe from the war.

At 9:04, the stage set for such gore
Armageddon struck
those shores.

2000 gone, if not in an instant,
then the next day in the blizzard
that froze shattered limbs, the sockets of eyes.
No respite from the hell they had lived in, til now.

Tragedy upon tragedy.
The suffering,
magnificent in its entirety,
making stories for perpetuity.
As they lie dying or grievously wounded.

9000 injured. The walking dead
as Bostonians sped
to their rescue.

More injured than on Vimy Ridge
those past April days,
those sons lost to battle.

Now, as impossible to ponder,
here on the shores of Halifax Harbour,
where mothers and fathers,
and brothers and sisters,
and teachers and preachers
felt safe from the war.

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