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Poem by John McCrae


The Song of the Derelict


Ye have sung me your songs, ye have chanted your rimes
(I scorn your beguiling, O sea!)
Ye fondle me now, but to strike me betimes.
(A treacherous lover, the sea!)
Once I saw as I lay, half-awash in the night
A hull in the gloom -- a quick hail -- and a light
And I lurched oer to leeward and saved her for spite
From the doom that ye meted to me.

I was sister to `Terrible, seventy-four,
(Yo ho! for the swing of the sea!)
And ye sank her in fathoms a thousand or more
(Alas! for the might of the sea!)
Ye taunt me and sing me her fate for a sign!
What harm can ye wreak more on me or on mine?
Ho braggart! I care not for boasting of thine --
A fig for the wrath of the sea!

Some night to the lee of the land I shall steal,
(Heigh-ho to be home from the sea!)
No pilot but Death at the rudderless wheel,
(None knoweth the harbor as he!)
To lie where the slow tide creeps hither and fro
And the shifting sand laps me around, for I know
That my gallant old crew are in Port long ago --
For ever at peace with the sea!



John McCrae


John McCrae's other poems:
  1. The Harvest of the Sea
  2. The Shadow of the Cross
  3. Anarchy
  4. Quebec
  5. The Oldest Drama


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