The History Behind The Cosmos Mariner “destination unknown”.

Conrad Aiken was born August 5, 1889 in Savannah, Georgia to William Ford and Anna (Potter) Aiken. His father a well-respected brain surgeon, and his mother a socialite that loved to entertain.

On February 21, 1901 Conrad was awakened by gun shots. His father had shot and killed his mother and then himself. Orphaned, Conrad was sent to Massachusetts to live with relatives.

He later attended Harvard University.  A writer whose works include poetry, short stories, novels and an autobiography, he also became the first Georgian to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1930.

Eleven years before his death Aiken returned to Savannah and purchased the home next door to his childhood home. He would often sit overlooking the water near his parents burial site in the beautiful Bonaventure cemetery. One afternoon he saw a ship with the name Cosmos Mariner on the bow. Intrigued by the name he desided to do some research at the port authority only to find that the ledger read Cosmos Mariner  “destination unknown”.  He saw this as the sum of his life, so much so that he had it put on a bench that marks the site of his grave next to his parents.


In May of 2014 Deb and I visited the Bonaventure cemetery in Savannah, Georgia.  It is one of the most visited places in Savannah and by far the most beautiful cemetery.  Old oak trees with spanish moss draped from the branches and some of the most elaborate stone work overlook the river to serve as an environment that is to die for.


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