Don Tweed

May 5, 2002
Wondering if anyone out there has written any poetry on the great lady?
I have written two such poems and am working on a third.
Now, I am no Dylan Thomas,Carl Sanberg or Walt Whittman, but I do love to write my musings on her.
Anyone else as sappy as me?

Aug 29, 2000
Don, we had a thread on Poetry back in October 2000. It is to be found under the BOOKS topic, go to the bottom, click on archived through 30 July 2001, then scroll down past the middle of the page to the Poetry thread. It is now a locked thread but you can view the postings. Yes, there has been a ton of Titanic poetry- some of it awful. One of the few excellent examples of great verse is Hardy's Lines on the Loss of the Titanic: Convergence of the Twain. I suppose if one counts song lyrics as a sort of poetry-there has been some truly dreadful schlock. Keeping in mind the very different sentimental nature and method of expressing emotion of he time, I suppose My Sweetheart Went Down on the Ship -a very popular 1912 memorial song, was well-received, and understood. By today's standards I think we would find it frankly sappy, with a very pedestrian rhyme pattern:
My Sweetheart went down with the ship,
Down to an ocean grave,
One of the heroes who gave his life,
The women and children to save,
Gone but not forgotten,
Tho' the big ship rolled and dipt'
He went o sleep in the ocean deep,
My Sweetheart went down with the ship.

The chords and arrangement are nothing short of high melodrama, but it must have been very popular. This piece, and The Band Played Nearer My God to Thee As The Ship Went Down, are the most easily found of over 300 musical pieces of "Titanic popular tunes." "It was Sad When the Great Ship Went Down" was sung at Walter Lord's memorial and is still a favorite with Girl and Boy Scouts in America. I found it in the Naval Academy song book with many, many verses. It's upbeat tempo and major key make it one of the most singable and less gloomy selections. Fascinating topic this is- I wonder what future generations will say about Horner's score and that wailing Canadian diva's "My Heart Will Go On"?

sharon rutman

Did the Hardy pictogram Titanic Poem for a college English assignment. Got an A on it naturally. Overall I dread attending Titanic memorials--I'm completely overpowered by Autumn and Nearer My God To Thee. And African-American folk singers such as Leadbelly skewered the Titanic in one satirical song after another.

Dave Gittins

Mar 16, 2000
Call those poems? I proudly claim for Adelaide, South Australia, the honour of creating the world's worst Titanic poem. Indeed, it's possibly the worst ever poem on any subject. Anybody can write verse that is flat, uninspired, sentimental and generally banal, but it takes real effort to turn out stuff as awful as The Passing of the Titanic, published by Christopher T Nixon in 1912. Price 1 shilling. Being merciful, I give only the first 24 lines of the whole 160. I flatly refuse to transcribe any more.


(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,
lnvention'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.

Christopher T Nixon, Adelaide, 1912.
Aug 29, 2000
Thanks Dave- that, uh, priceless offering is now the jewel of my collection- nothing like a man in love with his dictionary- in fact I must just look up SWART and TOCSIN myself. I think this guy aspired to improve upon Hardy. Got any more?

Dave Gittins

Mar 16, 2000
Shelley, I have the whole horrible opus, but I type very slowly and that's my excuse for not posting the whole thing. Apart from that, Phil would kill me. It goes on in the same way throughout. He uses big or obscure words and lots of hyphenated words, sometimes twice in one line. How do you like, "Alas, bombastic, self-deific man!" ? There's another Latin tag at the end. "Mors janua vitae".

Swart means black and a tocsin is a funeral bell. I must see if I can find anything about the perpetrator. I know Australian poetry pretty well, but I've never heard of him. I suspect a clergyman or academic.
Jun 4, 2000
Thanks for sharing, Dave. It's glorious.

Love "Alas, bombastic, self-deific man!". Translated into Ozlish, I believe it means "you're up yourself, mate." But 'death is the gate of eternal life', eh? Nice to see he's included the standard Titanic poetry cliches, beyond 'leviathan' and 'thrusting pistons' et al. There's also the consistency in simile and metaphor, with the 'mammoth liner' having mastodon tusks in the engine room. Bad poets have standards to maintain, you know. (We really need a posticon for laughing so hard you spray tea through your nose.)

Given comparison with the examples in my own beloved collection of bad and worse Titanic verse, the florid over-written prose and propensity for Latin, I'd go for clergyman poetaster over academic. Any other clues?

Maxim A. Nikulin

Well I did a big verse Like Eugeny Onegin
but now it's in Russian but if someone'd help
me with publishing I maybe 'd translate it.
The Verse is about Titanic in general...

[email protected]

Best Regards
Max Nikulin

diana handley

This is a poem wrote by me called

Remember the children

Lots of children all around
There feet not really touching the ground
For they were on a ship you see
Far out far out away at sea

And then one cold freezing night
An iceberg sprung up in to sight
Oh look out were going to hit
If only the moon had be brightly lit

The water came in down below
And people running to and throw
Ist class children in a boat to go
Lowered to the waters just below

They were all safe, all they had to do
Was wait for the ship that would soon be due?
But what of the children Left on the ship
Surly we couldn’t let there lives slip

But no one really seemed to care
Or they would have had more lifeboats there
These children never saw daylight again
And in our hearts we feel their pain

A great ship it was said to be
But all it bought was tragedy

by D.P.Handley

[Moderator's Note: This message, originally placed in the "Aftermath" topic, has been moved to this pre-existing thread. MAB]
Apr 16, 2010
Titanic (The Unsinkable Ship):

by Kim Robin Edwards

What people beleived in 1912.
Was a myth in the truth,placed on a shelf.
Was the unthinkable,unsinkable.
The fourty six thousand gross tons of steal.
Would never kneel or break its bow.
The ship could never sink or rust.
Was rumor going round,we all could trust.
The crowd showed up to celebrate.
As the ship was christened to show its fate.
But The White Star Line was cruising fine.
When it hit a berg,under a darkened sky.
There it lie,with many to cry.
At the bottom of the sea she'll die.
They said the Titanic could never sink.
Their opinion a myth,now she's on the brink.
With fourty six thousand gross tons of steal.
The voyagers finished their final meal.
To the bottom of the ocean they went.
A many to cry,while she made her descent.
The Titanic was a ship in trouble.
But now a myth,and a pile of rubble.
At the bottom's where she made her grave.
A sigh of relief,for the lives they saved.
To the rescue,and on the double.
Titanic was a ship in trouble.
Her maiden voyage,now turn the page.
Thousands of people,in a fit of rage.
The news it read that we all should mourn.
The Titanic's passengers,their lives were torn.
A myth of truth placed in the news.
The unsinkable ship..Would never lose..

Titanic Poetry By Kim Robin Edwards
Copyright 2009,2010
ALL rights reserved

Sam Schieber

Could anyone direct me to the complete version of "Passing of the Titanic," by Christopher Nixon, as so delightfully excerpted above?

Allan Wolf

Mar 11, 2007
Asheville, NC

I've looked in Steven Biel's Titanica: The Disaster of the Century in Poetry, Song, and Prose (WW Norton, 1998) but the Nixon poem is not there. It may not be so helpful to know where you CAN'T find the poem, but at least it will save you the time and money of looking at this particular book. Good luck.



Thanks for taking the time to respond! I appreciate the information--and knowing someone else has been looking for this treasure, as well.

Your website is delightful!

Bob Godfrey

Nov 22, 2002
Dave Gittins does provide a slightly longer extract on his website, but mercifully most of the verses remain still on the cutting room floor:

Whatever, the real gems on that page are Dave's own parodies in verse, which are stunningly accurate and very, very funny.

This begs the question - Is Mr Nixon himself another of Dave's wonderfully creative inventions? Anything's possible but I suspect not, as Dave generally signals his intention at such times by posting on April 1st!


Jan 7, 2013
As disaster is missed

All that's felt a slight shudder
A shake in the rudder
Though the bow swings out wide
There a familiar groaning inside
Without a single soul to spare
People continue unaware
3 hours to a watery grave
But how many souls can be saved?

She glances passed the mountain of ice
It passes elegant, white and nice
The sea's calm and still
Hiding it's icy cold chill
The Captain aware of it's doom
Paces his watery tomb
As the band starts to play
Atmosphere's happy and gay
As the first lifeboats unhatched
Women and children are despatched
Although most think she missed
There's a 5 degree list

Below already many have perished
Families hold on to their cherished
The lifeboats difficult to fill
On the ocean a stabbing cold chill
The first boat's launched half full
The remaining are still hopeful
Britain's stiff upper lip
Now climb a 10 degree dip

Through smoke, brandy and cards
First class, the highest regard
Are given lifebelts and paired
Their lives will be spared
With third class families locked in
The lifeboat filling may begin
Another SOS is cast out
Help is under serious doubt
Although few respond
Help's 4 hours across the pond
Families reluctant to be split
As another white rocket is lit
Children amazed by the bright flare
Gents dressed in evening wear
Stroll under the starry sky
Unaware tonight's their final goodbye
Gallons of water fill up inside
The first class blinded by pride
As the danger is being missed
There's now a 20 degree list

As panic sets in
An orderly queue can begin
Gents wave their goodbyes
Will terror filled eyes
As the boats are lowered away
Final words departing couples say
With another evening dance playing
Words of hope mothers are saying
"It's just goodbye for a while"
Is said through a false smile
As the waterline reaches the bow
The list is 30 degrees now

The impending doom is clear
People realise the end draws near
Although crowds fill the stern
Only extra minutes it'll earn
The band continue to keep the moral upbeat
Water quickly approaches their feet
"Gentlemen it's been a pleasure to play,
With you kind fellows today,
Good luck and take care,
But one more tune shall we share?"
So as their final song plays
Women in lifeboats listen amazed
With the stern up in the air
At a 45 degree angle they stare

People scramble up the decks
No one wants to die next
Some jump over the rail
Some succeed but some fail
As the stern continues rising
People start compromising
The baker finds climbing over the rail a hard task
And takes another sip of his near empty hip flask
A group sing nearer my god to thee
As the last lifeboat's cut free
It floats away upside down
With men clambering up its crown

The strain splits the great ship
And the bow take it's last dip
The Captain stays at his post
Where he'll remain as a ghost
A funnel falls to the water loud
And hits an unsuspecting crowd
The stern holds still up straight
For a minute or two they wait
Until like a lift it begins to plunge
Taking its final fateful lunge
Hundreds cast to the sea
In water barely a degree
Soon their bodies turn numb
To exposure they succumb
A roar turns to a shout
As survivors single out
Even the strong
Don't last very long

Just 7 survived the wait
The lifeboats returned too late
1500 bodies float nearby
As 700 survivors ask why
Tears fill mother's eyes
Hearing their children's cries
A hard lesson was learned
Before admiration was earned

John H. Lowe

Feb 21, 2018
I came across this old piece of poetry:-

In Memoriam of the Great and Beautiful Ship "TITANIC" by John T. Hotchkiss.

'Great star of wonder and of fate,
The Belfast ship built up to date;
Like a huge fortress she,
One thousand feet was just her length;
Like a Cathedral, great for strength,
A monarch of the sea.

Plus another 42 verses

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