H. D. Rawnsley

Launch of the Japanese Battleship ‘Katori’
by Princess Arisugawa Barrow, July 4, 1905

When from the crackling ‘ways’ the smoke-cloud cleared,
When sunlight dazzled where was dark before,
And that huge warship, with tumultuous roar
Of thousands, took the water, how we cheered;
For in an English home the hull was reared
Of English iron compacted to the core,
A child of England to our English shore
Its heart would be allied where’er it steered.

But some there were who, when dove-wings went
In silver circles up to bear afar
The tidings of the safety of its birth,
Prayed God’s own Dove would come again to Earth
And mightier than this minister of war
With world-wide peace would bless the Orient.



Rawnsley’s note:

When the ‘Katori’ was launched a cloud of carrier pigeons were liberated to bear far and wide the news of the success of the undertaking. Prince Arisugawa, speaking at the luncheon afterwards, said: ‘Framed with the iron from the soil of our allied country, and riveted with the warmest sympathy of our ally, the ‘Katori’—another offspring of the same cradle from which the ‘Mikasa’ came—cannot but prove to be an invaluable addition to the navy of my country.’


See notes about Rawnsley under Voices from the Dust. ‘Launch of the Japanese Battleship’ appeared in A Sonnet Chronicle (Glasgow: MacLehose and Sons, 1906).






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