Percy MacKaye

(1897-1956 / United States)

Goethals, The Prophet Engineer - Poem by Percy MacKaye

A man went down to Panama
Where many a man had died
To slit the sliding mountains
And lift the eternal tide:
A man stood up in Panama,
And the mountains stood aside.

For a poet wrought in Panama
With a continent for his theme,
And he wrote with flood and fire
To forge a planet s dream,
And the derricks rang his dithyrambs
And his stanzas roared in steam.

Where old Balboa bent his gaze
He leads the liners through.
And the Horn that tossed Magellan
Bellows a far halloo,
For where the navies never sailed
Steamed Goethals and his crew.

So nevermore the tropic routes
Need poleward warp and veer,
But on through the Gates of Goethals
The steady keels shall steer,
Where the tribes of man are led toward peace
By the prophet-engineer.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

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