Archive for July 22nd, 2017

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Derelict by Elisabeth Jones Cavazza Pullen

She wanders up and down the main
Without a master, nowhere bound;
The currents turn her round and round,
Her track is like a tangled skein;
And never helmsman by his chart
So strange a way as hers may steer
To enter port or to depart
For any harbor far or near.

The waters clamor at her sides,
The winds cry through her cordage torn,
The last sail hangs, to tatters worn;
Upon the waves the vessel rides
This way or that, as winds may shift,
In ghastly dance when airs blow balm,
Or held in a lethargic calm,
Or fury-hunted, wild, adrift.

When south winds blow, does she recall
Spices and golden fruits in store?
Or north winds—nets off Labrador
And icebergs’ iridescent wall?
Or east—the isles of Indian seas?
Or west—new ports and sails unfurled?
Her voyages all around the world
To mock her with old memories?

For her no light-house sheds a ray
Of crimson warning from its tower;
No watchers wait in hope the hour
To greet her coming up the bay;
No trumpet speaks her, hearty, hoarse—
Or if a captain hail at first,
He sees her for a thing accursed,
And turns his own ship from her course.

Alone, in desperate liberty
She forges on; and how she fares
No man alive inquires, or cares
Though she were sunk beneath the sea.
Her helm obeys no firm control,
She drifts—a prey for storms to take,
For sands to clutch, for rocks to break—
A ship condemned, like a lost soul.


Date: c1895

By: Elisabeth Jones Cavazza Pullen (1849-1926)