Cicely Fox Smith
The Clouds - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith
All day the clouds sail by,
Out of the west, whose tears are scarcely dried,
Where the veiled sun, 'reft of his crimson pride,
Glows gold athwart the sky.
All day they come and go,
Fresh from the waste where ailing petrels sweep,
The shouting tumult of the outer deep,
Where wild sea breezes blow.
What are the tales they tell?
Bowed down by thoughts of moonlight glancing, pale,
Fitful, upon the harvest of the gale
Rolled on the stormy swell.
They tell of a storm-thrashed main,
Of ships deserted flung to rot forlorn,
Of mastless hulks defiant to the morn
That brings no hope again:
Of ships that drive a way
Thro' wild waste leagues of rollers plunging free, -
Of sheer cliff-sided cleavers of the sea
That spurn the striving spray.
They tell of wild affright,
Shrill shuddering cries when ship and iceberg meet,
Clanging of bells, and tramp of hurrying feet, -
Then silence, and the night.
They tell of hungry waves
That leap and leap about some staggering keel,
Where stalwart men, their hands upon the wheel,
Sink silent to their graves.
Thither, tho' homes may mourn,
They go to draw the veil o'er heav'ns that smile;
Out of the deep they come a little while,
Unto the deep return.
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