Walt Whitman

(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892 / New York / United States)

Aboard At A Ship's Helm



ABOARD, at a ship's helm,
A young steersman, steering with care.

A bell through fog on a sea-coast dolefully ringing,
An ocean-bell--O a warning bell, rock'd by the waves.

O you give good notice indeed, you bell by the sea-reefs ringing,
Ringing, ringing, to warn the ship from its wreck-place.

For, as on the alert, O steersman, you mind the bell's admonition,
The bows turn,--the freighted ship, tacking, speeds away under her
gray sails,
The beautiful and noble ship, with all her precious wealth, speeds
away gaily and safe.

But O the ship, the immortal ship! O ship aboard the ship! 10
O ship of the body--ship of the soul--voyaging, voyaging, voyaging.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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