This Sestina was inspired by the Titanic and an essay I wrote on the topic.
His ship, the Steward steps out, brave,
Largest and finest disarrayed: with Men
Slowly sinking. While barking orders He,
The pleading continues,
“Women and Children First”
Men spring into action at this: the faithful cry
Lowering into a freezing nightmare, he cries.
Women clinging to their children; brave
Goodbye kisses and empty promises, first,
From the husband sealing his fate-manly,
“Women and Children First,” continued,
In a rhythmic tone of honorable duty, to He.
The titanic is sinking: realizes he
Real men, the distressingly young upholding the cry
The old, working tirelessly-continued
By Real men: Brave
Boys, fathers and brothers: Men
Crying, “Women and Children First.”
The ticked to a lifeboat sees he first:
There, stalking around the corner; he
This guilt trip from death to death began. A man?
He this child, scooped up crying.
This the coward quite UN-brave
Ignoring “Women and Children First,” continued.
What? Where have they gone? The cry, not continued?
Those valued the weaker vessel first?
Who, with no second thought, braved
“Women and Children First?” He,
The young boy who would die to save his sister’s cry.
Do they now step down? The real men
Lifeboats gone; As the steward sinks: a man
To icy death, with shipmates, passengers; continue
Rich, poor; young, old; Real men crying:
“Women and Children First.”
Defined this night realizes he,
Comrades slowly freezing; They, brave, durst
The modern man; lest continuing, forget he
The cry of, “Women and Children First”