Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward

(1844-1911 / Andover, Massachusetts)

Gloucester Harbor - Poem by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward

One shadow glides from the dumb shore,
And one from every silent sail.
One cloud the averted heavens wear,
A soft mask, thin and frail.


Oh, silver is the lessening rain,
And yellow was the weary drouth.
The reef her warning finger puts
Upon the harbor's mouth.


Her thin, wan finger, stiff and stark,
She holds by night, she holds by day.
Ask, if you will. No answer makes
The sombre, guarded bay.


The fleet, with idle canvas hung,
Like a brute life, sleeps patiently.
The headlights nod across the cliff,
The fog blows out to sea.


There is no color on the tide,
No color on the helpless sky;
Across the beach,-a safe, small sound-
The grass-hid crickets cry.


And through the dusk I hear the keels
Of home-bound boats grate low and sweet.
O happy lights! O watching eyes!
Leap out the sound to greet.


O tender arms that meet and clasp!
Gather and cherish while ye may.
The morrow knoweth God. Ye know
Your own are yours to-day.


Forever from the Gloucester winds
The cries of hungry children start.
There breaks in every Gloucester wave
A widowed woman's heart.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 7, 2010



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