A CENTURY SINCE THE TITANIC TRAGEDY

Thomas Hardy wrote a poem to mark this event. It’s called

THE CONVERGENCE OF THE TWAIN

(Lines on the loss of the ‘Titanic’)
I
In a solitude of the sea
Deep from human vanity,
And the Pride of Life that planned her, stilly couches she. 

II
Steel chambers, late the pyres
Of her salamandrine fires,
Cold currents thrid, and turn to rhythmic tidal lyres. 

III
Over the mirrors meant
To glass the opulent
The sea-worm crawls — grotesque, slimed, dumb, indifferent. 

IV
Jewels in joy designed
To ravish the sensuous mind
Lie lightless, all their sparkles bleared and black and blind. 

V
Dim moon-eyed fishes near
Gaze at the gilded gear
And query: ‘What does this vaingloriousness down here?’… 

VI
Well: while was fashioning
This creature of cleaving wing,
The Immanent Will that stirs and urges everything 

VII
Prepared a sinister mate
For her — so gaily great —
A Shape of Ice, for the time far and dissociate. 

VIII
And as the smart ship grew
In stature, grace, and hue,
In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too. 

IX
Alien they seemed to be:
No mortal eye could see
The intimate welding of their later history, 

X
Or sign that they were bent
By paths coincident
On being anon twin halves of one august event, 

XI
Till the Spinner of the Years
Said ‘Now!’ And each one hears,
And consummation comes, and jars two hemispheres.

titanic-wreck-3[1]

(photo from http://www.titanicuniverse.com/titanic-pictures/titanic-wreck-3-2)

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12 thoughts on “A CENTURY SINCE THE TITANIC TRAGEDY

  1. Alien they seemed to be. Anytime The Titanic comes up again, I always feel thank God its not me. That might be a little bit selfish, perhaps its a bit of the statement Alien they seemed to be, another way of looking at it.

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    1. I don’t think it’s selfish not to want to drown, Tayo :no:

      Yes, Hardy captured the huge difference between the Titanic and the iceberg with that word ‘alien’.

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  2. I had no idea Thomas Hardy dedicated this sensitive poetry to the beautiful doomed Titanic. My grandmother adored all of his books and poetry. He was a man of our own Counties and my grandmother understood his writings, for she was born 1884.
    The Titanic has always fascinated me. It must have been horrible to be sinking in such a faraway place, and the icy-cold ocean came ever nearer and nearer – “Not to Thee, Oh Lord, but to me – oh – not me – not us!? We were having such fun just a few hours ago. We are only little girls, Somebody is bound to rescue us soon….
    Thank you for remembering the beautiful liner,dear Gilly, those poor people. I shall say a prayer for them tonight. XXX

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      1. How wonderful, gillyk. I have always been so fascinated by this fabulous lady-ship and those who rode all the way to the bottom with her. They were incredibly heroic, such as the band who finally played “Nearer to Thee, Oh God, Nearer..” I always cry when I hear that.
        Who would ever have thought such a large strong , brand-new floating vessel could have met it’s fate so quickly in the icy cold waters of nowhere. There are so very many who floated up and onto the beaches of Newfoundland. I once made a vow I would live there when I retired. Not because of the graves, but because of it’s peaceful atmosphere. Alas, too cold for me now!
        I dreamt of a cottage on a hill overlooking the ocean, a little donkey to take me into town for shopping, and a fresh fish four times a week from the fishermen who strode past the cottage after a long day’s fishing!
        I could write a book!
        That exhibition and the atmosphere of this wonderful Titanic experience will be terrific! I hope it all works out beautifully.
        Thank you for letting me know, gillyk. Here’s wishing you a very happy and successful week. Easter is just around the corner, but first? Lent. XXX

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