Harry Kemp

(15 December 1883 – 8 August 1960 / Youngstown, Ohio)

Going Down In Ships


Going down to sea in ships
Is a glorious thing,
Where up and over the rolling waves
The seabirds wing;

Oh, there's nothing more to my heart's desire
Than a ship that goes
Head-on through marching seas
With streaming bows:

Would you hear the song of the viewless winds
As they walk the sky?
Come down to sea when the storm is on
And the men stand by.

Would you see the sun as it walked abroad
On God's First Day?
Then come where dawn makes sea and sky
A gold causeway.

Oh, it's bend the sails on the black cross-yards
For the day dies far
And up a windless space of dusk
Climbs the evening star . . .

Now there's gulf on foaming gulf of stars
That lean so clear
That it seems the bastions of heaven
Are bright and near

And that, any moment, the topmost sky
May froth and swim
With an incredible bivouac
Of seraphim . . .

O wide-flung dawn, O mighty day
And set of sun! . . .
O all you climbing stars of God,
Oh, lead me on!

Oh, it's heave the anchor, walk and walk
The capstan 'round -
Far out I hear the giant sea's
World-murmuring sound!

Submitted: Thursday, April 15, 2010

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