As equals sinking

We were not the crew,
not wealthy travelers,
not tourists, not musicians
but merely third-class pilgrims,
emigrants too drunk on hope.

Journey-drained we rested,
crammed and crannied
into pocket-money nooks
waiting red-eyed in tobacco-smoke
and falling feather-light asleep,
dreaming, not of oceans
but of soil, until
we woke at two AM twenty
from a tilt, the sudden jolt
singeing with the sound
of rivets ripped apart
and rush of sea and scent of ice.

We were not afraid but took our clothes
and were actually allowed into
the splendor of the first-class ballroom,
where crew and passengers
could for the first time face each other
and toast to death in free Champagne
as equal first and only doomed
sharing coffin when the Titanic slowly sank.

A poem written about the infamous Titanic for dVerse OLN that opens very soon.

November 28, 2019

16 responses to “As equals sinking

  1. I liked /waiting red-eyed in tobacco smoke/. This is very dark and intense, a nice twist on the epic saga

  2. This is exquisitely drawn! ❤️ I especially like; “waiting red-eyed in tobacco-smoke and falling feather-light asleep, dreaming, not of oceans but of soil.”

  3. Sigh. Leonardo DiCaprio.

    I am crazy over this section:

    “Journey-drained we rested,
    crammed and crannied
    into pocket-money nooks”

  4. The title sums up the whole so well, Björn. Many people romanticise the Titanic, forgetting the huge class divides and inequality in accommodation and rescue. You introduced the perspective well in the opening stanza, with the phrase ‘merely third-class pilgrims, emigrants too drunk on hope’. You conveyed the inequality perfectly in ‘crammed and crannied into pocket-money nooks’ – and the ‘tilt, the sudden jolt’ still came out of nowhere! I love the energy in the lines:
    ‘singeing with the sound
    of rivets ripped apart
    and rush of sea and scent of ice.’

  5. Imminent death is a tremendous equalizer. This is a compelling story… one of many on that tragic night.

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