Ships [poem by Marie E. J. Pitt]

[Editor: This poem by Marie E. J. Pitt was published in The Horses of the Hills and Other Verses (1911).]


The tide sweeps out across the roaring bar,
The wild and ravening bar,
(Ah, well that such things be!)
The tide sweeps out by sun or moon or star,
And bears the ships to sea.

The ships o’ Fate that steer by stranger stars,
By wan and wistful stars,
O’er seas of Circumstance,
Argos that dare unknown horizon bars
To cast the nets of Chance.

The wrecks creep in across the moaning bar,
The sad and sobbing bar,
(Ah, God! that such things be!)
The wrecks creep in by sun or moon or star,
Lean largess of the sea.

The cliffs are flecked with flakes of flying foam,
Of bitter, blinding foam:
The fear-blind albatross
Wheels shrieking by the harbour lights of home
A liturgy of loss.

I sent a ship across the sea lang syne —
(I see the white sails shine
Thro’ moony mists that flood the far seaways)
And all my life went with this ship o’ mine
Thro’ days and nights o’ days.

I sent a ship across the sea of years —
The hungry, hurrying years —
The cruel years that pass and give no sign
Of drifting hull or livid tempest spears
That brake this barque of mine.

And still I wait and watch beside the sea —
The lilting, laughing sea
That bore me back nor plank nor broken spar —
And see in dreams this ship that went from me
Creep in across the bar.

Marie E. J. Pitt, The Horses of the Hills and Other Verses, Melbourne: Specialty Press, 1911, pages 82-83

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