Text: With texts from Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s 33 cantos/


Text: The metaphor slows down the event to make it understandable”/

“There is nothing to understand!”

Text: Captain Smith

Text: Second Canto

The impact was very slight. /

The first radiogram: 0015 hours Mayday

CQ Position 41°46’ North 50°14’ West/

Marvelous chap, this Marconi!/


Text: G. Marconi, Inventor of radiotelegraphy

Text: No sirens, no alarm bells,

Just a discreet knock at the cabin door

A subdued cough in the smoking lounge. /

While down below the water is rising fast,

On D deck the steward is lacing the boots

Of a groaning old gentleman,

in the machine-tool and smelting trade./

wigl wagl wak, my monkey,

bleats the band, dressed in snow-white gala uniforms:

a potpourri

from “The Dollar Princess”. /

The steerage may not be fluent

in English or German,

but it does not need an interpreter to know:

that the First Class is always first served,

and that there are never enough

milk bottles, shoes

or life boats

for all of us. /

Text: Lord Ismay, Titanic owner

Text: Fifth Canto

Take what they have taken from you,

Take by force what has always been yours,

he shouted, freezing in his undersized jacket,

his hair on fire beneath the cranes,

I am with you, he shouted,

what are you waiting for?/

Now is the time,

Pull down the barriers,

Throw the bastards overboard

With all their trunks, dogs, lackeys,

The women as well

And even the kids,

Use brute force, use knives, use your bare hands!/

And he showed them the knife,

He showed them his bare hands./

But the steerage passengers,

Emigrants, all of them, stood there,

In the dark, took off their caps

And listened in silence to what he said./

When do you want to take your revenge,

If not now?/

[...] It was hard to explain./

They understood quite well what he said,

But they did not understand him. /

His words were not

Their words./

Worn down by other fears

And by other hopes,

They just stood there patiently

With their carpetbags, their rosaries,

Their febrile children at the barriers,

Making room for others,

Listening to him, respectfully

And waiting until they drowned./

Text: Isidor Straus and his wife, billionaires

Text: Thirty-third Canto

Soaked to the skin I peer,

through the drizzle, and I perceive/

my fellow beings clutching wet trunks,

leaning against the wind.

Dimly I see their livid faces,

Blurred by the slanting rain. /

I don’t think it is Second Sight./

It must be the weather,

They are right on the brink./

I warn them.

I cry, for instance, watch out! There’s the brink!

You are treading slippery ground,

Ladies and gentlemen!/

But they just give me a feeble smile,

And gallantly they retort:

Same to you!/

I ask myself,

Is it just a matter of a few dozen passengers

Or do I watch

The whole human race over there,

Haphazardly hanging on to some run-down cruise liner,

Fit for the scrapyard

And headed for self-destruction?/

I cannot be sure./

I am dripping wet and I listen./

Text: Band master Wallace Hartley with his Ragtime-Band

Text: The advantage of shipwrecks was

That there was no obstacle for the steamer or sailing ship

outracing the wind,

and that surely, after some time,

(too late for the humans, but certainly, from the planet’s perspective)

The storm would settle down. /

The image of a stock market crash, on the other hand,

Doctor Söhnlein says, resembles more a modern war ship

hit by a rocket,

That, with its immense inbuilt horse power,

Sinks below the ocean’s surface

And heads towards the center of the Earth.

Reaching a certain depth,

The ship will burst, the parts will lose speed,

And begin to sink to the bottom of the ocean, at less than 1g. /

The turrets fall from their sockets, because the sinking ship

Turns onto its head

It’s a quiet image,

The illustration of the phrase: “Don’t panic.” /


Text: With texts from Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s 33 cantos/