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-

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