A Song before Sailing
Wind of the dead men’s feet, Blow down the empty street Of this old city by the sea With news for me! Blow me beyond the grime And pestilence of time! I am too sick at heart to war With failure any more. Thy chill is in my bones; The moonlight on the stones Is pale, and palpable, and cold; I am as one grown old. I call from room to room Through the deserted gloom; The echoes are all words I know, Lost in some long ago. I prowl from door to door, And find no comrade more. The wolfish fear that children feel Is snuffing at my heel. I hear the hollow sound Of a great ship coming round, The thunder of tackle and the tread Of sailors overhead. That stormy-blown hulloo Has orders for me, too. I see thee, hand at mouth, and hark, My captain of the dark. O wind of the great East, By whom we are released From this strange dusty port to sail Beyond our fellows’ hail, Under the stars that keep The entry of the deep, Thy somber voice brings up the sea’s Forgotten melodies; And I have no more need Of bread, or wine, or creed, Bound for the colonies of time Beyond the farthest prime. Wind of the dead men’s feet, Blow through the empty street; The last adventurer am I, Then, world, goodby!
Bliss Carman’s other poems:
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