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Sunday, 15 April 2012

Titanic

As everyone on the planet now knows, Titanic sank 100 years ago today, sadly resulting in the loss of hundreds of souls.  Perhaps no cultural response to this modern tragedy is more brilliant (and less discussed, comparatively, these days, at least in comparison to film and television spectacles) than Thomas Hardy's poem 'The Convergence of the Twain'.  The jarring of the two hemispheres, the human, and natural, is eerily fated by The Spinner of Years.  In this blind, process-led world, things happen, but not with any compassion, as the Immanent Will just stirs a sort of sluggish, cruel soup of events.  One of the bleakest poems ever written in English (it makes Larkin seem jolly), it nonetheless captures the curiously disturbing aspects of the disaster - of any event in fact - by mocking the usual positive aspects of a love or marriage poem.  In this case, the consummation is to be greatly not desired.  Yeats was clearly strongly influenced by this poem, when writing 'Leda and The Swan'.
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