Thursday, August 22, 2013

TITANIC: SWEDISH CONNECTION

While in Finsång, one of the surprise events was 
Attending a Titanic exhibit in nearby Norrköping.

Nautical replications emotionally stimulated present-time, 
In-vivo experience, augmented by evocative narration, 
Music, photos, furniture, furnishings, actual possessions,
Newsreel footage, and piece of touchable simulated ice.

Many intentional and circumstantial mistakes caused 
More than 1500 deaths, of which 703 were passengers;
More than half were crew, including engine-room workers 
Immediately engulfed by gushing, ice-cold ocean water,
As well as band members who played on during submersion.

3rd Class passengers, in below-decks cabins, with less
Access to minimal evacuation mechanisms, died at 
Higher percentages than 1st/2nd Class passengers. 
Rather than on holiday, many 3rd Class passengers, 
Often whole families or people at the end of their
Ropes with one last desperate attempt to start anew,
Were emigrating to the The New Land, the USA.

Many of the emigrating 3rd Class passengers from
Scandinavia, specifically Sweden, were linked with
Minnesota, even to a specific town,Tower, Minnesota, 
+50 miles northeast of my hometown, Hibbing, MN.

Realistic environment allowed visitors to quickly adopt
Imaginative space to see, hear, and feel relatively-minescule 
Yet emotionally-excruciating experiencial moments of empathy.
Details brought already-heart-breaking reality to heightened
Physical awareness and palatable individual relatedness.
Walking through exhibit rooms, heart constricting and
Eyes burning and erupting with tears for dashed hopes, 
Terror, unimaginable trauma, and anticipated death. 

Passengers were trapped, seeing water rise in cabins and
Hallways. Others watched from overfilled, wave-tossed
Life boats, often death boats, as other people fell or 
Jumped into freezing waters, or disappeared when the 
Ship broke into two pieces and quickly, unbelievably, 
Sank out of sight. Then interminable wait for rescue.

On walls of final exhibit room, posted lists of categorized 
Deceased passengers' names confronted and cemented
The full reality of the immense tragedy and loss of lives.
Listed alphabetically, families stood out by repetition of
Surnames, so often Scandinavian. Lost lives, lost futures.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) August 21, 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment