God Help Our Men at Sea [poem by Henry Kendall]

[Editor: This poem by Henry Kendall was published in Poems and Songs (1862).]

God Help Our Men at Sea.

The wild night comes like an owl to its lair ;
The black clouds follow fast ;
And the sun-gleams die and the lightnings glare,
And the ships go heaving past, past, past —
The ships go heaving past !
Bar the doors, and higher, higher
Pile the faggots on the fire !
Now abroad, by many a light
Empty seats there are to-night ;
Empty seats that none may fill,
For the storm grows louder still !
How it surges and swells through the gorges and dells,
Under the ledges and over the lea,
Where a watery sound goeth moaning around.
God help our Men at Sea !

Oh ! never a tempest blew on the shore,
But that some heart did groan
For a darling voice it would hear no more,
And a face that had left it lone, lone, lone —
A face that had left it lone !
I am watching by a pane
Darkened with the gusty rain ;
Watching through a mist of tears,
Sad with thoughts of other years :
For a brother I did miss
In a stormy time like this.
Ha ! the torrent howls past, like a fiend on the blast,
Under the ledges and over the lea ;
And the pent waters gleam, and the wild surges scream.
God help our Men at Sea !

Ah, Lord, they may grope through the dark to find
Thy hand within the gale ;
And cries may rise on the wings of the wind
From mariners weary and pale, pale, pale —
From mariners weary and pale !
’Tis a fearful thing to know,
While the stormwinds loudly blow,
That a man can sometimes come
Too near to his father’s home ;
So that he shall kneel and say,
“Lord, I would be far away !”
Ho ! the hurricanes roar round a dangerous shore,
Under the ledges and over the lea ;
And there twinkles a light on the billows so white —
God help our Men at Sea !

Henry Kendall, Poems and Songs, J. R. Clarke, Sydney, 1862, pages 31-33

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