When Ships and Harbours Part [poem by Grant Hervey]

[Editor: This poem by Grant Hervey was published in Australians Yet and Other Verses, 1913.]

When Ships and Harbours Part

It’s slack away the shore-lines —
O, hear the whistle blow !
“Good-bye,” the lovers murmur —
“Good-bye !” the ship breathes low.
“Farewell, dear Love,” the wharf says —
“Farewell, beloved heart ;”
And all the world grows mournful
When ships and harbours part !

’Tis hard to take the last kiss —
The ship leans on the pier ;
’Tis hard to leave the loved one,
When Passion’s star shines clear !
’Tis easy for the loveless,
For whom no hot tears start ;
But all true lovers mourn, though,
When ships and harbours part !

How hard to walk the gang-way ? —
But hear the whistle blow !
All friends ashore !” “Good-bye, Love” —
I am the last to go !
I am the last to leave her,
With two hot eyes a-smart ;
O ! all the winds blow kisses
When ships and harbours part !

The engines strain the hawsers —
Her bows are pointing West ;
But ah ! the straining cordage
Which fastens breast to breast !
With broadsides of sad glances
She rakes the loving heart ;
The strands of joy are broken
When ships and harbours part !

Kia Ora !” from the wharfside —
The faces distant grow ;
But ah, the pier is mourning,
And ah, the ship swims slow :
’Tis hard to leave the Harbour
And follow Fortune’s chart ;
For all the seas are sighing
When ships and harbours part !

The liner takes the high-way —
She leaves her wake a-strow ;
Love’s kerchief flutters my way —
Her face the last to go !
Two lives are slain, are sundered —
Two souls know Sorrow’s dart ;
The world’s great heart yearns sadly.
When ships and harbours part !



Source:
Grant Hervey. Australians Yet and Other Verses, Thomas C. Lothian, Melbourne, 1913, pages 76-77

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