Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, STEVENSON MAKES CONRAD WELCOME, by RICHARD EUGENE BURTON

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

STEVENSON MAKES CONRAD WELCOME, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: At last you come, my fellow of the seas
Last Line: "how conrad's company will color heaven!"
Subject(s): Dreams; Fates (mythology); Heaven; Sea; Truth; Nightmares; Paradise; Ocean

"AT last you come, my fellow of the seas,
For whom I've waited long! Your hand.
Now, please
To sit while we like kinsfolk here recite
High-colored happenings by day and night,
Whether in Polynesian waters, or
Beyond Malayan lands, with sail and oar
Gladly adventured under sun and stars . . .
How oft we steered beneath uneasy spars!

"Little we dreamed to greet and talk it all
In this snug haven. . . . So the fates should fall,
Since we were cronies in the crescent will
To know the soul of man through good and ill,
Everywhere round the earth, and then to tell
The truth so cunningly, we cast a spell
On all who wisely hear.
Come, quaff a glass,
'Twill help to make this hour in Heaven pass
(For frankly, friend, this heavenly home at first
May seem a trifle tame) -- I say the worst,
To show my joy in welcoming such as you,
A master-mariner whose yarns ring true. . . .

"You smile, while drinking. Good! You liked your drink?
That brew was made for sailor men, I think,
The like of us. . . .
In your dark Slavic way,
You felt Fatality, and I -- but, nay,
The Celt in me put on a gayer mood,
Yet, Calvin in my blood, I understood.

"And we were one in that unquenchable zeal
Oceans to traverse with our questing keel
Toward island offings, or by shore to trace
Man's devious paths to some uncharted place.
Oh, the great heart of Life, the gipsy lure,
We knew and loved it all, and must endure,
Buoyed up by memories, as best we may,
These holy doldrums of our after-day! . . .

"The hour grows late . . . far down the glamourous west
The sun goes sailing.
Friend, you need to rest,
After your last grim voyage. I were fain
To sit the night out, talking once again
With one earth-come, who freshly brings to me
News of that underworld of devilry,
Delight and derring-do.
You would not go?
Now, by all dangers that we faced below,
This fellowship of yours, beloved Pole,
Is better than your drink to light my soul.
Fill up, yarn on, you speak to famished ears;
Picture the actions of my earth-lost years.
My bread was lumpish, needed your brisk leaven;
How Conrad's company will color Heaven!"

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