Parodies and an awful poem

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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For various reasons, I've closed my web site for the present. Nixon's wonderful poem is still available via the Wayback machine (use the old url) and on this thread. Titanic Related Poetry

I've found out a little about the perpetrator. Christopher Thomas Nixon was a self-styled "minister of religion" and a quack, phrenologist, herbalist, etc. I'm trying to locate his grave, to make sure he's still there.
 

Rob Lawes

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@Dave Gittins can I ask you, my Dad has a book about the history of Rickman motorcycles, authored by Dave Gittins. Would that by complete coincidence be your good self?
 

Dave Gittins

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No! That Dave Gittins is an American expert on old motorbikes.

Oddly, there are two others of the same name in South Australia, resulting in a mess over my boat registration. The surname is a very old English name. Older British members might recall the cartoons of Harold Gittins, an uncle of mine.
 
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Rob Lawes

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My surname is the old English spelling of Law which used to be spelt Lawe.

The rugby player Courtney Lawes is the only famous one of us.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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With my website down, I'll post part of the woeful poem here, together with some research about the culprit.

The World's Worst Titanic Poem.

The Titanic disaster "inspired" numerous would-be poets to take up their amateurish pens. Generally speaking, the resulting verse was decidedly feeble, proving that sincerity is not synonymous with ability. Maudlin sentimentality and clumsy versification are a gruesome combination. The work of the South Australian poetaster, Christopher Thomas Nixon, published in 1912, is from a different world. His 160 lines of stately iambic pentameter are almost free from faulty scansion, his rhymes are perfect and his language displays a rich vocabulary. The total effect, however, is worse than the work of the unskilled hacks, and must rank among the most over-written and tedious poems on any topic. I therefore claim for South Australia the "honour" of having produced the worst Titanic poem of all. To spare the reader, I give only the first three verses and the last, complete with Latin tags.

The Passing of the Titanic.

(Sic transit gloria mundi.)

Through deep-sea gates of famed Southampton's bay,
A mammoth liner swings in churning slide
Her regal tread ridged opaline gulfs asway,.
And gauntlet flings to chance, wind, shoal and tide.
Ark wonderful! Palatial town marine,
Invention's flower, rose-peak of skill-wrought plan;
The jewelled crown of Art the wizard, seen
Since Noah's trade in Shinar's land began.

Vast triple screws gyrating flail and bore
Swart blades as flukes of monstrous scouring whale;
Huge arm-rock cranks, and tree-bole shaftings roar
And thrum reverberate, loud dynamic gale.
Stout deep-thrust pistons lunge and flash disport
As mastadonic mighty tusks agleam;
Grim arc-bent turbine giant whirrs retort,
And gasps propulsing, force-gyved record dream.

The proud leviathanic courser bowls
Like flank-gored steed in all-out pounding race;
Though wireless tocsin sparked on ether tolls,
To brand Cain's curse-mark on her curbless face.
To-day she spurns yeast-spouting aftermath,
Displays spun heels of frolic rainbowed scorn;
Next sun will scan surprised, abandoned path
With flotsam pride and jetsam glories mourn.
........................................................................

Bare anguished Nations! Bow and shameless pour
With reason palled, and voices numb your tears;
Ten thousand shattered homes struck mourning sore
To aching yearn through cloud-filled blighted years!
Implore, prayer heeding, Heaven's All-loving Love,
Distil celestial balm, shed peace for pain;
At length in non-sea realms - which nought can move-
Mend every rift, weld every wreck-rent chain.

Mors janua vitæ.


My first record of Christopher Thomas Nixon is from 1904, when he advertised himself as “Professor Nixon” and claimed to be able to heal all manner of illnesses, much like other charlatans of his time. He practised in St Kilda, Victoria. In 1905 his wife petitioned for divorce, on the grounds that he had run off with another woman. In court, Nixon was identified as a minister of religion, phrenologist and hydrotherapist. Mrs Nixon’s petition was granted. A few years later, Nixon was active in Adelaide, advertising himself as a “Medical Herbalist and Rational Healer”. This continued until shortly before his death on 2 October 1933. His several small booklets of verse date from the early years of the 20th century and include The Passing of the Titanic, The Lay of Austral and a verse version of the story of the prodigal son. Nixon was buried in the Mitcham General Cemetery in an unmarked grave. Here's a mug shot, suitable for such a crook.

Nixon.jpg
 
Jan 28, 2003
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I say ,Dave! You know what this 'poem' reminds me of? That wonderful game that cynical business execs sometimes play in meetings (me included once) - Bullshit Bingo. You get a grid of business bullshit terms, and cross them out every time the speaker utters one. When your grid is complete you leap up and shout "Bingo" - if you dare. There is also the bullshit generator, in which you randomly select buzz words to put together in sentences of business garbage for your presentation, and wait to see if anyone asks what on earth you're talking about. That's good fun, too. Failing that, there is always a bottle of Scotch and Roget's Thesaurus ...
 
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Nov 14, 2005
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LOL. I used to play that a lot in company meetings. Think I still have sheets of that in my box of papers when I retired. The EEOC/Diversity meetings were the absolute worst. I always got in trouble at those meetings.