On this day in 1912 the transatlantic steamship Titanic hit an iceberg and sank.
One of the greatest peacetime maritime disasters, around 1500 people perished. The losses were made worse by the inadequate number of lifeboats, with provision for only 1178 people of the 2224 on board.
Another factor was the near freezing water. Nearby ships might have been able to help more but seemed curiously unmoved by the distress rockets that they saw. Only the Carpathia, a fellow White Star liner, gave wholehearted assistance and took on board over 700 survivors.
The wreck of the Titanic was discovered in 1985 lying at about 12000ft on the ocean floor.
Here is a poem about the sinking, by Thomas 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…
Today I ask that I will be able to handle whatever problems or disasters happen today, large or small.