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Poetry Magnum Opus

R.M.S.Titanic


Frank E Gibbard
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Frank E Gibbard

In a new century not long yet in the turning

home fires of the world were happily burning.

 

Gestated from the deep womb of the Atlantic

was a story dramatic, tragic and romantic.

 

Below, in chandelier-lit salon of the sinking ship

a strewn champagne glass rolls and twinkles.

 

On deck, a musician's first tutored chord

in his far-off conservatoire echoes and tinkles.

 

Lives flash through minds, icy waters drip,

at hazard the prospects of all souls aboard.

 

A gambler tossing his final losing hand in

makes swerving way up a first class stair

swept mid throng of strangers, kith and kin;

no hurry, the code as males were all aware:

women and children first to fill the boats.

 

Such were morals and the decorum as R.M.S.

Titanic floats though holed in Atlantic iciness.

In the freezing chill and darkness She is still ...

a band plays on as to the end in duty on and

on, so bravely will, as long as they can stand.

 

Ladies cried loudly leaving sad husbands behind,

uncertainty of reunion afflicts each wifely mind

dark thoughts such victims think as hope sinks.

Husbands watch wives on lifeboats safe away

precious ones may live on, fervently they pray.

 

Mrs.Ida Straus would not depart and quit her

Mr.,Isidor, they were together from the start,

she said and would not allow him to go before.

 

Potentates of great estate ponder the fickleness

and vicissitudes of fate. the foundering of this

great ship and state. It was by God so unthinkable,

claimed by her makers as watertight and unsinkable.

 

Thomas Andrews, a Belfast man had drawn the plans

and sailing's shortest straw, his ship was surely going

down as he so plainly saw, R.M.S.Titanic had not long;

lifeboats though few he would try to get full and away,

he organised their best dispatch, he himself would stay.

 

Well-off cabin and poor steerage passengers both on par

in growing perturbation share fears tears and desperation.

A grand White Star lady brought all down to equal station,

crew and officers' realization: no boats nor sure salvation.

 

Radio calls and flares had all gone off no sign yet of relief

a cleric intones a prayer to God seeking succour from belief.

Man had confronted an impenetrable wall of Nature and lost,

Her mighty berg of frozen water dominates the seas untossed.

Titanic ill luck, that curse of life, had dogged this maiden's trip,

not admitting of disaster quite unprepared for misfortune's grip.

Costs: priority of the day, ceded fewer lifeboat places than souls,

H.M.Board of Trade safety orders, were like Titanic, full of holes.

 

Warnings of nearby ice threat sent through confusions unreceived,

vain attempts to signal distress all misunderstood or not believed.

By irony the nearest ship of sunny name S.S.California belated came,

too late for her Captain Lord to gain credit or shed the blot of blame;

by then Titanic's Master Captain Smith was gone as was his mighty ship.

 

Mr.Marconi's radio telegraph had failed to help upon that fateful day,

in spite of mankind's machinations a perverse Luck had greatest sway.

Edited by Frank E Gibbard
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I saw Cameron's version when it came to the cinema. Your poem captures the same final moments equally well. I love the descriptions, especially this one:

 

Such were morals and the decorum as R.M.S.

Titanic floats though holed in Atlantic iciness.

In the freezing chill and darkness She is still ...

a band plays on as to the end in duty on and

on, so bravely will, as long as they can stand.

And I would even note that your lines have a touch of Coleridge, of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Here, you show a universal truth:

 

Well-off cabin and poor steerage passengers both on par

in growing perturbation share fears tears and desperation.

A grand White Star lady brought all down to equal station,

crew and officers' realization: no boats nor sure salvation.

We all leave the world exactly as we came in -- with nothing.

 

As always, your usage of vocabulary is remarkable. Very well done, Frank.

 

Tony

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Frank E Gibbard

Thanks Tony, you are generous with your time and comments, and customary depth of reading and critical analysis.

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  • 1 year later...
Larsen M. Callirhoe

glad you bumped it.i appreciate yours and brendan's take on thesinking that spark controversy. your vocabulary is superb.

 

victor aka larse

Larsen M. Callirhoe

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