The Spring blew trumpets of color;
Her Green sang in my brain --
I heard a blind man groping
"Tap -- tap" with his cane;
As long as I go forth on ships that sail
The mighty seas, my faith, O Lord, won't fail;
And while the stars march onward mightily
Oh, a sailor hasn't much to brag -
An oilskin suit and a dunnage bag.
But, howsoever humble he be,
By the Living God, he has the sea!
The sails hang dead, or they lift and flap like a cornfield scarecrow's coat,
And the seabirds swim abreast of us like ducks that play, a-float,
When you've failed with ordered people, when you've sunk neck-deep again
In the sluggish wash and jetsam of the slackened tides of men,
Don't get old and mean and bitter, - there's a primal remedy -
Just take a ship to sea, my lad, just take a ship to sea.
Three long years a-sailing, three long years a-whaling,
Kicking through the ice floes, caught in calm or gale,
Tell them, O Sky-born, when I die
With high romance to wife,
That I went out as I had lived,
Drunk with the joy of life.
As I sat on a Kansas hilltop,
While, far away from my,
Rippled the lights and shadows
Dancing across acres of wheat,
Going down to sea in ships
Is a glorious thing,
Where up and over the rolling waves
The seabirds wing;
Shanghaied! . . . I swore I'd stay ashore
And sail the wide, wide seas no more! . . .