War and History Poetry posted March 21, 2013

This work has reached the exceptional level
Pearl diving in 1887

The Pearl Divers

by Aussie

Paradise reef where corals slice
Silica sands - sapphire seas
So many divers paid the price
Brave men lost with ease

Canvas suits - shoes of lead
Ghosts of men gather pearls
Beauty and terror - divers dread
Air bubbles cease - blood swirls

Gathering pearls - dangerous game
Stay too long - bodies bend
Sliced air-hose - none to blame
Shoes of lead - fish will tend

Diving helmets of beaten brass
Baskets full of pearl shells
Fear and sweat fog the glass
Ghostly divers - funeral bells

Quatrain Poetry Contest contest entry


1887: Broome, Western Australia - more than 2,000 pearl divers lost their lives on the ocean floor. Crude canvas suits, lead boots and brass helmets were the only way they could work underwater. Air hoses trailed from the boat above, men on board worked the manual air pump. Today, Broome is a thriving pearl industry; tourists flock to buy the best pearls, seeking the elusive black pearl. The pearl shells are no longer collected like they were in the old days. Today, harvested much like oysters on wooden racks that can be lifted by a boat and winch, seeded and replaced to form a pearl over time. Malaysian, Japanese, Pacific Islanders were all casualties of early pearling fleets.
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