Wife of the Zeppelin Scientist

by Ernest Hilbert

May 5th, 1937

How young they’d all been then! And before that, when he was little,
Peter used to shout hurrah! at the zeppelins.
                                       — William T. Vollman, Europe Central

Cold rhythm of rivets in the hanger —
The balmy whirr of huge engines soothes you.
Watch the glide of swelled bellies far above.
To raise an ill nation from its languor,
You bred giants, impractical and new.
Slow, broad contours inspired a strange love.
I’m not jealous. How could I be? The prow
Of your dream breaks through lightning-veined storms, throws
The past off — gleaming vanguard, Olympic.
But thoughts of war must be put off for now.
You grant us great, luxury torpedoes,
Aimed for America over the Atlantic.
Beneath, the ocean rolls out into the dark.
Steel ribs plunge through clouds, sizzling with sparks.

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Ernest Hilbert is an antiquarian book dealer in Philadelphia, where he lives with his wife, an archaeologist. He hosts the popular blog and video show http://www.everseradio.com/. His debut collection is Sixty Sonnets (2009). LATR Editions, Brooklyn, issued Aim Your Arrows at the Sun (2009), a hand-sewn chapbook in an edition of 250, with a foreword by Adam Kirsch.
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Pat Jones
Published 20 May 2010