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Poem by George Sterling

On a Western Beach

FAR out, hulls down, the ships go by;
    North, south, they pass, by night or day; 
There, where the ocean meets the sky,
    The canvas gleams, the tall masts sway.

Intrepid, whose adventure finds
    No lasting peace for sail or prow 
Unto what oceans and what winds,
    O stranger ship, advancest thou ?

The tempest and the night descend
    In which no truthful star may warn; 
There waits no beacon to befriend
    Where southward looms the bitter Horn.

But will is at the guarded wheel 
    Decision at the managed sail, 
To hurl the javelin of thy keel
    Against the billow and the gale.

The tides and winds on that design
    Converge, indifferent at best; 
The fog's invasion blots the sign,
    Slow sinking in the midnight west.

Thou sailest by another Star
    A solemn and unsetting Fire 
That sun of purpose, high and far,
    To which intrepid hearts aspire-

George Sterling

George Sterling's other poems:
  1. The Gleaner
  2. Christmas Under Arms
  3. Youth and Time
  4. The Black Vulture
  5. The Homing of Drake

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