Poem of the Month: Titanic

February’s A*CR poem is by Joseph Healy.


2012 the centenary of the sinking no tickets to be had for the museum opening

I tour the Belfast shipyard on a small boat – it’s an industrial heritage tour de force

The deserted offices of the former White Star Line, the lighter which took passengers to the great liner with its chimney smoking

A barely functioning shipyard with solid stone quays covered in green weeds and moss

A graveyard of the great Industrial Age

A strain now to imagine the huge girders, the thousands of workers, the giant boilers, a hive of worker bees constructing the Goliath from steel and wood

Art Nouveau artists completing the interior with its great winding staircase

Thousands lined those deserted quays on her launch seeing in her the great white hope, the triumph of science and engineering over nature

But the iceberg got her, puncturing the illusion as the water poured in drowning rich and poor alike, though mostly the steerage passengers hoping to escape the poverty of Irish cottages for the gold lined streets of New York

Her sinking a symbol of hubris and man’s pride a warning from a century ago

For this century continued with its great projects, its belching forth of gas and oil

More icebergs line the Atlantic now than then and the great ice sheets continue to disintegrate

Still on the bridge the captain ignores the danger and continues headlong toward destruction, extinction, rupture and annihilation

The great Ark like the great liner seems indestructible but the gashes have already opened along the sides and the water pours in angrily

Deckchairs continue to be moved on the deck and the band that is global power continues to try and soothe the hapless passengers

But the cold dark waves will still prevail as they did with the Great Unsinkable as cities too slide into their watery graves

deckchairs bobbing on the surface.

Joseph Healy is a member of the Anti*Capitalist Resistance and is on the national committee of Another Europe is Possible.

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