Sunday, 15 April 2012

A poem for Titanic week

A slight deviation from my usual comic style for a more serious subject...

It was April the tenth in the year of our Lord
Nineteen hundred and twelve, that’s the day
That with over one thousand eight hundred on board
Titanic set off on her way.

Her first port of call was to Cherbourg, to park
For more passengers, dressed in their best
Then to Ireland where even more souls could embark
Before she set off for the west.

Four hedonist days passed without any care
Especially up in first class.
Man, woman and child, they were all unaware
Of events that would soon come to pass.

It was full steam ahead for the liner and crew
Despite many warnings of ice
For that’s what the owners had told them to do
And to take no one else’s advice.

Titanic sped on through the ice and the brine
Executives feeling the need
To show White Star Line was ahead of its time
When it came to both comfort and speed.

It was on that fourth night that the tragedy fell
Nearly midnight when most were asleep
A slow groaning shudder was all to foretell
Of the menace that struck from the deep.

Hardly anyone thought it a dangerous sign
For all had been told it unthinkable
That a liner that size and of modern design
Could ever be thought to be sinkable.

But they didn’t know of the damage below –
Metal plates torn apart just like cardboard
Compartments were breached by the long glancing blow
As the iceberg dragged past down the starboard.

Titanic’s design meant the ship could survive
If water filled four of these rooms
But the gash down her side let the water in five
For the liner, that fifth one spelled doom.

She started to list and to tilt to the bow
The flooding got faster and stronger
To the people on board it was obvious now
She would not stay afloat for much longer.

From that moment onward it must have been manic
Just try to imagine the scene
As those on Titanic were starting to panic
How frightening it must have been.

“Make for the lifeboats!” up went the cry.
“This way. Come on. Follow me.”
“Please make haste everyone for we don’t want to die”
“In the depths of an icy cold sea.”

But space in the lifeboats was less than a half
Of enough to save everyone’s necks.
Though it seems to us now most excessively daft
White Star felt that they cluttered the decks.

So lifeboat places a meagre resource
And women and children first
That meant for all of the men there of course
Their prospects could not have be worse.

Two thousand odd people, fare paying and staff
Sisters, daughters and mothers
And not enough room in Titanic’s life craft
For the husbands and lovers and brothers.

Meanwhile down below from the third class deck
Escape routes had been blocked
So many souls trying to flee from the wreck
Discovered that doors had been locked.

Over sixty percent was the count who survived
From the toffs and the rich and the peerage
While down below decks ‘twas a mere twenty five
The percentage escaping from steerage.

So fifteen hundred died that night
Though many more could have been saved
If shipping lines had been more bright
About safety on the waves.

1 comment:

Titanic Ireland said...

Who was on the ship? What facilities were available on boardclick hear Titanic Events in Belfast