Cicely Fox Smith

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

The Builders - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Not here the grace of the sonnet's flow,
The blithe ballade and the smooth rondeau,
The minstrel's tale and the wooer's sighs,
And the lovelorn lay to a layde's eyes . . .

Here shall a lordlier rhythm be found
In the throb and beat of the hammer's sound,
A rugged chant with a bold refrain,
A rougher rhyme and a sterner strain.

The ancient rune of the venturer man,
Builder of ships since the world began,
To brave the perils and dare the ways
Of the sea that serves him, the sea that slays.

Centuries gone, it was shaped and sung,
Centuries gone when the world was young,
When first he launched on the trackless tide
His cockleshell craft of boughs and hide -

The same old song that is always new
(Be it liner, longship or bark canoe),
The same to-day in a world grown old
As it was when they sailed for the fleece of gold:

A song of strength and a song of speed,
Of the dream made true and the word made deed,
In bow and bulwark and ribs and keel
An epic in iron, an ode in steel.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010



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