With the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic coming up, here is the text of Thoma Hardy’s poem about the incident. It was published in 1915 and contrasts the materialism of humankind with the integrity and beauty of nature.
The Convergence of the Twain
by Tomas Hardy
In a solitude of the sea
Deep from human vanity,
And the Pride of Life that planned her, stilly couches she.
Steel chambers, late the pyres
Of her salamandrine fires,
Cold currents thrid, and turn to rhythmic tidal lyres.
Over the mirrors meant
To glass the opulent
The sea-worm crawls – grotesque, slimed, dumb, indifferent.
Jewels in joy designed
To ravish the sensuous mind
Lie lightless, all their sparkles bleared and black and blind.
Dim moon-eyed fishes near
Gaze at the gilded gear
And query ‘What does this vaingloriousness down here?’ . . .
Well, while was fashioning
This creature of cleaving wing,
The Immanent Will that stirs and urges everything
Prepared a sinister mate
For her – so gaily great –
A Shape of Ice, for the time so far and dissociate.
And as the smart ship grew
In stature, grace and hue,
In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too.
Alien they seemed to be;
No mortal eye could see
The intimate welding of their later history,
Or sign that they were bent
By paths coincident
On being twin halves of one august event,
Til the Spinner of the Years
Said ‘Now!’ And each one hears,
And consummation comes, and jars two hemispheres.