NEWS

THE TITANIC EXHIBITION AT GREENWICH

Eighty years on , the sea disgorges treasures –
Once mundane and purely functional
But now a richness, redolent of a long gone
lifestyle of white spats , long dresses and pince-nez.
A vanished world is seen inside these cabinets,
pathetic reminders of man`s transience.

From profound sea depths rescued
out of black water into the sunlight
from their cold and lonely grave
two miles down, where they lay
disfunctional and dead so long
like ornaments on their users` final resting place,

They speak to us, who come to gaze upon
these holy relics from the corpse
and tell of days when people knew their place.
Still coruscate the jewels and still shine the rings
surviving the swift dive to disaster
scattered on the sea bed like open oyster shells.

Decorated dinner plates, cracked and broken,
but eloquent testimony to a sudden shattering
of the even tenor, bear silent, anguished witness
to the dark night`s encounter.
cups, elegant yet, once raised to eager lips
reminders of brief hours upon the stage.

A steward`s jacket discoloured by the sea,
the White Star insignia still discernible
remains a sad memorial to a life in prime
struggling in a freezing sea, alone in spirit
helpless against malevolent forces
intent on wreaking havoc.

Vanished from sight for eighty years
the mighty ship lay in caverns of perpetual night.
two miles down! But now seen again
upon the screen – gigantic like a floating mountain
in its dock and still gigantic in its grave,
a ghostly witness to a style before its time.

Artefacts, equipment from the hulk surviving
the ravening hunger of the salt
appear again: a bell, a lamp, a clock,
symbols of an ordered world that ended
with the headlong plunge which took
so many happy, optimistic people.

© A.B. Finlay Ph.D