Cicely Fox Smith

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

Newfoundland's Gift - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Gifts from a full garner - wealth from a brimming store -
How shall these things be offered from a sea-girt land and poor?
I - who have neither gold nor jewels, cattle nor corn -
I (says Newfoundland) give the lads I have borne!

Toll o' the Banks when the white fog spins a shroud there,
Toll o' the Gulf when the Fundy gales are loud there,
Toll o' the ice-pack grinding south by Labrador -
These things I have paid . . . yet will not grudge my part in war.

Bone o' my bone - and bitter pain I bare them!
Blood o' my blood - oh, it's cruel hard to spare them!
Splendid sons of seamen - more than life to me -
No new thing is sacrifice to them which use the sea!

Salt is the sea-crust on our land's wave-fretted shore;
Salt, salt seas, they bring our seamen home no more,
Salt, salt winds, they'll blow them home no more to me -
Well we know the taste of it whose menfolk use the sea!

Bone o' my heart - and the salt sad tides roll over them;
Heart o' my heart - oh, the wide, cold seas 'll cover them!
Gold and gear I give not . . . life and love and all to me,

I give to England . . . to England and the sea!

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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