Titanic

I have been interested, fascinated, obsessed if you will with RMS Titanic for many years. The stories of the people who sailed looking for a better life, the tales of the pampered aristocrats and the experiences of the men and women who made up the crew fired my curiosity. I decided that I would like to create my own tribute to the people who sailed on that fateful voyage in April 1912. This is for them.

Titanic

The Captain stood upon the bridge aboard his ship Titanic

He looked around, he saw no ice there was no need to panic

Maintain course and heading, do not reduce the speed

I’ve crossed this ocean many times and there is no need.

 

The stokers in the boiler rooms were working round the clock

They had kept the fires burning since they left Southampton dock

The fumes, the dirt, the heat and the sweat upon their backs

Were only ever seen as smoke rising from the stacks.

 

The passengers in steerage thought their cabins rather grand

Many of them wished that they could live like this on land

Everything was all brand new, so bright and fresh and clean

Yes, many of them thought it was the best they’d ever seen

 

On the promenade on A deck several people took a stroll

They wore their furs and topcoats and so didn’t mind the cold

The liner had provided them with what they felt was theirs

Luxury and comfort and a lift as well as stairs

 

The lads up in the wireless room worked at a breakneck pace

Sending First Class telegrams while in range of Cape Race

Their wages were dependant on the number they could send

And both of them agreed that they would have a bit to spend

 

Mr Andrews sipped his brandy and he puffed on his cigar

He had built a ship so grand, it outstripped the rest by far

The largest ship afloat and they said it was unsinkable

He never liked that claim, it made him think of the unthinkable

 

He was joined by Mr Ismay the White Star Line’s top brass

Ismay proudly stated the ship was indeed first class

If only it could reach New York faster than the rest

Then the world would surely know that Titanic was the best

 

The engine room was noisy as she went ahead full steam

The Chief had every confidence in his engineering team

The engines hadn’t been run in they really were quite new

But if they encountered problems his men knew what to do

 

The waiters serving dinner on brand new plates and dishes

Attended to the first class guests fulfilling all their wishes

The menu had ten courses including oysters, soup, roast meats

Plenty of fresh vegetables and ending with sweet treats

 

The steerage fayre though not so grand was better than of old

When third class people had to bring their own and eat it cold

Ham and eggs for breakfast and roast beef for their main

Cold meat or bread and cheese for tea, no cause to complain

 

In second class the menu was almost as good as first

With plenty of selection and drinks to quench one’s thirst

The food was good and though perhaps not so many courses

There were fish and fowl, and roast meats with many different sauces

 

The men up in the crow’s nest were having quite a night

The binoculars were missing there was no moon, so, no light

The frigid air stung their eyes and made it hard to see

If anything was in their way that might spell jeopardy

 

The boat deck was deserted, not a passenger nor crew

To witness that the lifeboats would only hold a few

“Clear the decks” Ismay had said, the decision had been made

To carry fewer lifeboats but, still please the Board of Trade

 

The Bridge crew maintained course and speed as the Captain had directed

Despite the telegraphs received no ice had been detected

The stately ship sailed swiftly on, as she had since leaving Cork

They were bound to make the headlines when they tied up in New York

 

In the Crow’s Nest Frederick Fleet was filled with sudden dread

He rang the bell, he phoned the bridge crying “Iceberg right ahead!”

“Hard a port” Murdoch cried “Engines full astern”

He watched and hoped Titanic would have time to make the turn

 

The orders had been followed by a fast efficient crew

All eyes were on the iceberg, there was nothing left to do

Shards of ice cascaded down and landed on the deck

Had the ship been damaged? A man was sent to check

 

The icy water breached the hull along the starboard side

There was nothing anyone could do to stem the rising tide

The doors were sealed the engines stopped the impact was assessed

Mr Andrews told the captain, we have three hours at best

 

The collision wasn’t violent as we understand the word

There was no sudden jolt or a bang that could be heard

Just a tinkling of dishes, just a ripple on a gin

Were the only indication of the trouble they were in

 

The wireless room received the news, the ship was in distress

The signals went out straight away, CDQ and SOS

The lifeboats were made ready and the passengers were told

“Put on your life jackets, wrap up warm, it’s very, very cold”

 

“Californian isn’t answering although they are quite near,

Carpathia reports they are, at best, four hours from here”

Glances were exchanged, but not a word was said

By the time that help arrived, hundreds would be dead

 

Not everyone believed that the ship would really sink

Some went off to their cabins, others had another drink

The passengers in third class found their exits had been blocked

Every way they went, the metal gates were locked

 

The passengers soon realised that the bow was going down

They hurried to the boat deck, they were not prepared to drown

The boats were being lowered to the black and icy sea

Not one of them was filled to its full capacity

 

There was an air of desperation as the last boat pulled away

The band up on the boat deck were continuing to play

The sea was getting closer, their chances very slim

With an understanding nod, they finished with a hymn

 

The wireless room fell silent the boys had done their job

They would have to try to save themselves amid the frantic mob

The last rocket had been fired and its final glow of light

Shone down upon the tragedy unfolding on that night

 

The people left aboard the ship knew their time was running out

There was no chance of rescue of that there was no doubt

Some people jumped into the sea and hoped to reach a boat

Others made a frantic search for something that would float

 

The stern was rising steadily, the bow had disappeared

The ship was going down at the time that they had feared

People in the lifeboats, both passengers and crew

Watched in awe and horror as Titanic broke in two

 

The sounds that rent the air that night were terrible to hear

Cries for help, of anguish, of unmitigated fear

No one came to save them, they were left to their own fate

Just one lifeboat turned around, but they had left it far too late

 

Carpathia was sighted in the early morning light

She took aboard the people who had survived the night

Hot drinks and warm blankets, there was very little talk

Eventually, the Captain set a heading for New York

 

The search for more survivors turned out to be in vain

They found three hundred bodies, some they could not name

Interred in Nova Scotia, their journey at an end

But for some of the survivors, their souls would never mend

 

Fatalities in First Class were relatively few

Compared to those in steerage, and of course the crew

The safety of that grand new ship was surely compromised

The decisions that were taken were clearly ill-advised

 

The bulkheads had been lowered to make room for the stairs

The lifeboats had been left behind to accommodate deck chairs

Sailing on at twenty knots ‘though they had been warned of ice

Doomed fifteen hundred people to pay the tragic price

 

So, that’s the story of Titanic, in Belfast she was built

Her maiden voyage ending with her resting on the silt

Of the deep and dark Atlantic, a hundred years ago

A ship, a berg a moonless night, now, the rest of it you know.

 

snowtitanic

This is the memorial park in Lahardane in County Mayo. Fourteen people left the parish, to travel to America aboard the Titanic. Only three survived the journey.

 

 

 

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2 Responses to Titanic

  1. Widdershins says:

    That got me all teary. There’s something about the story, isn’t there, that touches a deep place in us. Well done. 🙂

    Like

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