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John McCrae

The Song of the Derelict

Ye have sung me your songs, ye have chanted your rimes
    (I scorn your beguiling, O sea!)
Ye fondle me now, but to strike me betimes.
    (A treacherous lover, the sea!)
Once I saw as I lay, half-awash in the night
A hull in the gloom — a quick hail — and a light
And I lurched o'er to leeward and saved her for spite
    From the doom that ye meted to me.

I was sister to 'Terrible', seventy-four,
    (Yo ho! for the swing of the sea!)
And ye sank her in fathoms a thousand or more
    (Alas! for the might of the sea!)
Ye taunt me and sing me her fate for a sign!
What harm can ye wreak more on me or on mine?
Ho braggart! I care not for boasting of thine —
    A fig for the wrath of the sea!

Some night to the lee of the land I shall steal,
    (Heigh-ho to be home from the sea!)
No pilot but Death at the rudderless wheel,
    (None knoweth the harbor as he!)
To lie where the slow tide creeps hither and fro
And the shifting sand laps me around, for I know
That my gallant old crew are in Port long ago —
    For ever at peace with the sea!

 
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About the poet
John McCrae
 
By the same poet
In Flanders Fields
The Anxious Dead
The Warrior
Isandlwana
The Unconquered Dead
The Captain
Quebec
Then and Now
Unsolved
The Hope of My Heart
Penance
Slumber Songs
The Oldest Drama
Recompense
Mine Host
Equality
Anarchy
Disarmament
The Dead Master
The Harvest of the Sea
The Dying of Pere Pierre
Eventide
Upon Watts' Picture "Sic Transit"
A Song of Comfort
The Pilgrims
The Shadow of the Cross
The Night Cometh
In Due Season
 
Related books
John McCrae at amazon.com


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