Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MY SHIP, by ELIZABETH AKERS ALLEN

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MY SHIP, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Down to the wharves, as the sun goes down
Last Line: And watch to see if my ship comes in.
Alternate Author Name(s): Percy, Florence; Chase, Elizabeth Anne
Subject(s): Grief; Ships & Shipping; Sorrow; Sadness

DOWN to the wharves, as the sun goes down,
And the daylight's tumult and dust and din
Are dying away in the busy town,
I go to see if my ship comes in.

I gaze far over the quiet sea,
Rosy with sunset, like mellow wine,
Where ships, like lilies, lie tranquilly,
Many and fair,—but I see not mine.

I question the sailors every night
Who over the bulwarks idly lean,
Noting the sails as they come in sight,—
"Have you seen my beautiful ship come in?"

"Whence does she come?" they ask of me;
"Who is her master, and what her name?"
And they smile upon me pityingly
When my answer is ever and ever the same.

O, mine was a vessel of strength and truth,
Her sails were white as a young lamb's fleece,
She sailed long since from the port of Youth,—
Her master was Love, and her name was Peace.

And like all beloved and beauteous things,
She faded in distance and doubt away,—
With only a tremble of snowy wings
She floated, swan-like, adown the bay,

Carrying with her a precious freight,—
All I had gathered by years of pain;
A tempting prize to the pirate, Fate,—
And still I watch for her back again;—

Watch from the earliest morning light
Till the pale stars grieve o'er the dying day,
To catch the gleam of her canvas white
Among the islands which gem the bay.

But she comes not yet,—she will never come
To gladden my eyes and my spirit more;
And my heart grows hopeless and faint and dumb,
As I wait and wait on the lonesome shore,

Knowing that tempest and time and storm
Have wrecked and shattered my beauteous bark;
Rank sea-weeds cover her wasting form,
And her sails are tattered and stained and dark.

But the tide comes up, and the tide goes down,
And the daylight follows the night's eclipse,—
And still with the sailors, tanned and brown,
I wait on the wharves and watch the ships.

And still with a patience that is not hope,
For vain and empty it long hath been,
I sit on the rough shore's rocky slope,
And watch to see if my ship comes in.

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