David MacDonald Ross

(1865 / Australia)

The Watch on Deck


Becalmed upon the equatorial seas,
   A ship of gold lay on a sea of fire;
   Each sail and rope and spar, as in desire,
Mutely besought the kisses of a breeze;
Low laughter told the mariners at ease;
   Sweet sea-songs hymned the red sun's fun'ral pyre:
   Yet One, with eyes that never seemed to tire,
Watched for the storm, nursed on the thunder's knees.

Thou watcher of the spirit's inner keep,
Scanning Death's lone, illimitable deep,
   Spread outward to the far immortal shore!
While the vault sleeps, from the upheaving deck,
Thou see'st the adamantine reefs that wreck,
   And Life's low shoals, where lusting billows roar.

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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