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After the Titanic
Posted by: Emer (
Date: June 19, 2004 12:19PM

The last line of the poem 'After the Titanic' by Irish poet Derek Mahon reads 'Include me in your lamentations'. I was just wondering if anyone knew if that was a reference to the Book of Lamentations in the bible. I don't think it is, but many arguments with my english teacher have caused my conviction to waver. Please put me out of my misery, either way.

Re: After the Titanic
Posted by: lg (
Date: June 19, 2004 12:26PM

Here's a link which may help you shed some light on the subject:

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Re: After the Titanic
Posted by: Emer (
Date: June 19, 2004 12:50PM

Thanks very much, I think you just proved me wrong!
Much appreciated.

Re: After the Titanic
Posted by: IanB (
Date: June 19, 2004 05:08PM

Emer, though the link posted by Les is scholarly and interesting about the Book of Lamentations, I can't see how it proves you wrong in your difference of opinion with your English teacher. Can you post the whole poem, so the interpretation of its last line can be judged from the poem?

Re: After the Titanic
Posted by: Emer (
Date: June 20, 2004 02:02PM

                                     After the Titanic <br />
                                                             Derek Mahon<br />

They said I got away in a boat
And And humbled me at the inquiry. I tell you
I sank as far that night as any
Hero. As I sat shivering on the dark water
I turned to ice to hear my costly
Life go thundering down in a pandemonium of
Prams, pianos, sideboards, winches,
Boilers bursting and shredded ragtime. Now I hide
In a lonely house behind the sea
Where the tide leaves broken toys and hatboxes
Silently at my door. The showers of
April, flowers of May mean nothing to me, nor the
Late light of June, when my gardener
Describes to strangers how the old man stays in bed
On seaward mornings after nights of
Wind, takes his cocain and will see no one. Then it is
I drown againwith all those dim
Lost faces I never understood, my poor soul
Screams out in the starlight, heart
Breaks loose and rolls down like a stone.
Include me in your lamentations.

Sorry about that, I assumed people knew the poem. It's written about Bruce Ismay, and from his viewpoint. He was the manager of the White Star Line which built the Titanic. He was 49 at the time of the disaster and while about 1550 of the 2206 passengers died, his survival instincts took over and he jumped into a partly filled lifeboat as it was about to be lowered, and lived to regret it. After his public vilification as J. "Brute" Ismay, he became a recluse and eventually died a broken man.
Incidently, it proved me wrong because I assumed that since, for her, everything is based on religion, she was just trying to find a biblical reference. Now I can see where she's coming from, eventhough I still disagree.

Re: After the Titanic
Posted by: Pam Adams (
Date: June 21, 2004 03:39PM

I'm with you- he's using 'lamentations' in the sense of mourning, not in a biblical sense.


Re: After the Titanic
Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: June 21, 2004 04:42PM

Ditto -- the last line could be "include me in the list of casualties" or "include me when you remember the lost."

Bruce Ismay is portrayed in the recent mega-movie TITANIC, making that impulsive leap into a lifeboat.

If you're interested in the Titanic and/or survivor guilt, I recommend a play called SCOTLAND ROAD by Jeffrey Hatcher.

Re: After the Titanic
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: June 21, 2004 05:17PM

Now I can see where she's coming from, even though I still disagree.

Include me as well in your lamentations. The two are mutually exclusive, incompatible and unrelated, not to mention irreconcilable.

Re: After the Titanic
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (
Date: June 21, 2004 05:23PM

Making a hasty exodus from this discussion !

Re: After the Titanic
Posted by: Emer (
Date: June 21, 2004 06:19PM

Nice pun.

Re: After the Titanic
Posted by: shane (192.168.128.---)
Date: September 08, 2006 06:55PM

Powerful imagery used in this poem. Raw images. excellent throughout!

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