Sunday, April 15, 2012

Claudina’s Poem: “On the Loss of the Titanic”

As this is the centenary of the loss of the RMS Titanic, I thought it fitting to post a contemporaneous poem on the tragedy by my great aunt, Claudina Marie Conrad (b. 1887).  Claudina was born, lived, and died in Christiansted, St Croix.  I never met her, as she died before I was born, but by all accounts she was a fairly prolific poet.
Claudina collected some of her works into a volume entitled “Carnations for Mother’s Day”, although it was never published.  Among the poems is one that she wrote within days of hearing of the Titanic disaster in 1912. 

In the forward of her book she writes:
The poem of the Titanic was written at the time of the disaster. The facts I gathered from the telegrams published in the local papers, which, at that time was supplied them by the West India and Panama Telegraph Company. It was completed about five days after the event took place-- before any other accounts in the American papers were received here.
by Claudina Marie Conrad (1912)
Far across the boundless ocean,
           Goes the call to ships around.
“C.Q.D. Collided iceberg,” 
           Faint and blurred the signal sound.
From the largest, proudest vessel-
           Of the giant White Star line-
The Titanic, sailing westward,
           O’er the calm, and treacherous brine.

Three great steamers to the rescue.. 
           Race across the trackless main,
But, of that ill-fated liner, 
           Not a sign or trace remain.
Sunk, with 1600 mortals, 
           In the oceans icy bed,
There to wait, in holy silence,
           Till the sea gives up its dead.

The Carpathia, God bless her,
           Does her noble duty well,
Caring for the rescued voyagers,
           With a zeal of which all tell.
Doing all in Christian kindness,
           Treating rich and poor aright,
Honor to the brave Carpathia,
           For the deed she did that night.

Tales of sorrow and of suffering,
           Told they all, that rescued few,
Of that night, a deadly horror,
           Which their number did pass through.
Told how when two boats turned over, 
           Such a cry the heavens rent,
Laughing, weeping, cursing, praying,
           Into one wild chaos blent.

And, they told – those seven hundred,
            Who, of all aboard survived,
Of wild scenes, and anguish partings,
            When the time to leave arrived.
Tales of superhuman courage, 
            Heroism grand and brave,
How the last act, of their captain 
            Was an infants life to save.

How from out the sinking vessel,
           Floated fourth in strains so grand,
Waltzes gay, and lively ragtimes,
           Played by her heroic band.
Till at last in solemn measure,
           Came “ Nearer My God to Thee. ”
Breaking in heart, melting cadence
           O’er the silence of the sea.

Solemnly the notes ascended
           To the pitying starlit sky,
From that band of brave musicians,
           Who like heroes knew to die.
Who shall say, but that they mounted
           To the throne of God, above,
Mingling with the angel’s welcome
           To their homes, of joy, and love.

Father in thy holy keeping,
            Leave we them, in perfect trust,
Comfort Thou, the stricken nation,
            Holy Father, comfort us.
Teach us, in our hour of peril, 
            Fearlessly, to cling to Thee,
Death is robbed of every terror
            When, “ Nearer My God to Thee.”


  1. This is truly a beautiful poem, published now for the first time on your blog 100 years after the disaster. She'd be really proud of you!

  2. Thank you for Claudina. She was a wonderful person whom I never had the pleasure of knowning, but reading through her poetry and wonderful things said about her by family and friends truly make me wish I had.