Cicely Fox Smith

(1882-1954 / England)

The Old Whale


When I'm growing old (if I'm getting tired of sailing
Up and down the seas, and always finding something new),
When I come to feel the sight and strength of me are failing,
Maybe I'll curl up then, as the old whales do;
When I've lived on land, and never feel the fret and fever
Pull me back to seaward (as may one day be),
When I hear my old bones saying that it's time for me to leave her,
Maybe I'll curl up then ashore, and leave the sea!

I'll grow a few flowers then; I'll have a few friends nigh me,
Lie soft, and never care for all the winds that blow:
Eat, and sleep, and smoke, and let the hours go by me,
In the little easy ways that old men know;
Or sit by a winter fire, and tell the old tales over,
Listen for a shipmate's step coming to the door,
Talk of men and ships I knew, from Torres Strait to Dover,
And . . . maybe the heart of me'll be happy on the shore.

Maybe I'll forget then how, when I was younger
(Pleasant folks about me, and my girl's kiss on my lip),
When I've been a month or less on land I'd feel the hunger
Drive me through the ports again, looking for a ship;
Maybe then the shore things won't seem stale; and I won't waken
In the night and think of all my friends forgetting me,
Nor know (when it's too late to know) how sore I was mistaken
Curling up ashore there . . . with my heart at sea!

Submitted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (The Old Whale by Cicely Fox Smith )

Enter the verification code :

Read all 1 comments »

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Ode To Envy, Chibueze Oscar Osuji
  2. Time be quite, Filippo Stella
  3. Domestic goddess, Mark Heathcote
  4. Blank Depression, Chibueze Oscar Osuji
  5. The tears of human race, Great Emeritus
  6. Capsule Of Eternity, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  7. MY own fault, hasmukh amathalal
  8. on returning to my part time job-, Mandolyn ...
  9. Write new chapter, hasmukh amathalal
  10. COPLA 71 INVOCATION: This Bad Guy World, T (no first name) Wignesan

Poem of the Day

poet Emily Dickinson

239

"Heaven"—is what I cannot reach!
The Apple on the Tree—
Provided it do hopeless—hang—
That—"Heaven" is—to Me!

...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

poet John Burroughs

 

Member Poem

[Hata Bildir]