Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AT SEA, by ALICE CARY



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First Line: Brown-faced sailor, tell me true
Last Line: "and his love for us no sin can sunder."
Subject(s): Love; Sea; Ocean


BROWN-FACED sailor, tell me true --
Our ship I fear is but illy thriving,
Some clouds are black and some are blue,
The women are huddled together below,
Above the captain treads to and fro;
Tell me, for who shall tell but you,
Whither away our ship is driving!

The wind is blowing a storm this way,
The bubbles in my face are winking --
'T is growing dark in the middle of day
And I cannot see the good green land,
Nor a ridge of rock, nor a belt of sand;
Oh, kind sailor, speak and say,
How long might a little boat be sinking?

More saucily the bubbles wink;
God's mercy keep us from foul weather,
And from drought with nothing but brine to drink.
I dreamed of a ship with her ribs stove in,
Last night, and waking thought of my sin;
How long would a strong man swim, d' y' think,
If we were all in th' sea together?

The sailor frowned a bitter frown,
And answered, "Aye, there will be foul weather, --
All men must die, and some must drown,
And there is n't water enough in the sea
To cleanse a sinner like you or me;
O Lord, the ships I've seen go down,
Crew and captain and all together!"

The sailor smiled a smile of cheer,
And looked at me a look of wonder,
And said, as he wiped away a tear,
"Forty years I've been off the land
And God has held me safe in his hand:
He ruleth the storm -- He is with us here,
And his love for us no sin can sunder."





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