Cicely Fox Smith

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

Salvage - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Not the encounter of navies in battle array -
The roar of salvoes - the smoke-wrack that darkens the day -

But a mined ship with her forepeak full
Off the Foreland, waiting towing
. . .

Not the white flame of the searchlights, the red glare between,
The heaven-splitting thunder and roar of the struck magazine -

But a fog rolling up the Channel as white as wool,
And never a light showing
. . .

Not the fierce dash of destroyers - the bow-wave like snow -
The track of the headlong torpedo launched swift on the foe -

But a ship aground off the Long Sand light,
And a hell of a gale blowing
. . .

Not the stern splendour of battle, the glory, the fame,
Not the awarding of honours, the nation's acclaim,

But a crew and a cargo to take off in the night,
And the light fast going . . .
(But only the duty and the deed - whose reward is in no man's bestowing!)

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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