A Movie Log

A blog formerly known as Bookishness

By Charles Matthews

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Poem of the Day: Thomas Hardy

The Convergence of the Twain 
LINES ON THE LOSS OF THE TITANIC

          1
          In a solitude of the sea
          Deep from human vanity,
And the Pride of Life that planned her, stilly couches she.

          2
          Steel chambers, late the pyres
          Of her salamandrine fires,
Cold currents thrid, and turn to rhythmic tidal lyres.

          3
          Over the mirrors meant
          To glass the opulent
The sea-worm crawls -- grotesque, slimed, dumb, indifferent.

          4
          Jewels in joy designed
          To ravish the sensuous mind
Lie lightless, all their sparkles bleared and black and blind.

          5
          Dim moon-eyed fishes near
          Gaze at the gilded gear
And query: "What does this vaingloriousness down here?"

          6
          Well: while was fashioning
          This creature of cleaving wing,
The Immanent Will that stirs and urges everything

          7
          Prepared a sinister mate
          For her -- so gaily great --
A Shape of Ice, for the time far and dissociate.

          8
          And as the smart ship grew
          In stature, grace, and hue,
In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too.

          9
          Alien they seemed to be:
          No mortal eye could see
The intimate welding of their later history,

         10
         Or sign that they were bent
         By paths coincident
On being anon twin halves of one august event,

         11
         Till the Spinner of the Years
         Said "Now!" And each one hears,
And consummation comes, and jars two hemispheres.

Yes, it's hokum, this personification of the Titanic as human pride and the Iceberg as nature's might. But is it any hokier than James Cameron's version?

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