Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

An Ocean Tramp - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

To-morrow and to-morrow,
(O the slashing of the foam along the furrow!)
We'll loosen from the jetty when the tide has ceased to flow.
East, West, North and South we're going, boys,
Out where the salt winds are blowing, boys,
Along the ocean highways where the little traders go!

I have rocked in Pacific harbours, I have fought the Polar seas,
I have bowed to the Northern tempests,
I have laughed to the South Sea breeze:
I have driven far to the Northward, through tempest and strain and toil,
To trade with the fur-clad people for their sealskin and their oil.
Iceberg and floe and storm-wind, they pass me scathless by;
For why should the mighty ocean wage war on such as I?

I have run in the dark of the night-time where the cruisers guard the bay,
Into the leaguered harbour making my unseen way:
I have lain by the plague-swept city where a ceaseless death-bell toil'd,
When the sailors die in the foc's'le, and the cargos rot in the hold.
I have sought the palm-fringed islets where the liners come naught nigh,
Trailing the smoke of my funnels over a stainless sky.
And ever I'm tramping, tramping, over the world-wide main,
Ever out from the haven to seek new ports again.

Lagos and sweltering Aden, - I know them one and all, -
Manila's princely harbour, the heights of Montreal,
The shallow roads of Durban, and Riga's fortress strong,
The guarded bay of Capetown, the island of Hong Kong,
The swarming docks of Melbourne, the markets of Bombay,
And virgin South Sea harbours, and drowsy Mandalay.

To-morrow and to-morrow,
(O the slashing of the foam along the furrow!)
It's out to one or other of the thousand ports I know;
East, West, North and South we're going, boys,
Out where the salt winds are blowing, boys,
Along the ocean highways where the little traders go!


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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010



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