Cicely Fox Smith

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

The Orion's Figurehead At Whitehall - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

All wind and rain, the clouds fled fast across the evening sky -
Whitehall aglimmer like a beach the tide has scarce left dry -
And there I saw the figurehead which once did grace the bow
Of the old bold
Orion
-
The fighting old
Orion
,
In the days that are not now.

And I wondered did he dream at all of those great fights of old,
And ships from out whose oaken sides Trafalgar's thunder rolled;
There was
Ajax, Neptune, Temeraire, Revenge, Leviathan
,
With the old bold
Orion
-
The fighting old
Orion
,
When
Victory
led the van.

Old ships, their ribs are ashes now . . . but still the names they bore
And still the hearts that manned them live to sail the seas once more -
To sail and fight, and watch and ward, and strike as stout a blow
As the old bold
Orion
-
The fighting old
Orion
,
In the wars of long ago.

They watch, the gaunt gray fighting ships, like death as bleak and stern;
They wait (not yet, not yet has dawned the day for which they burn):
They're ware and waiting for the word that sets their thunders free,
Like the old bold
Orion
-
The fighting old
Orion
,
When Nelson sailed the sea.

Oh, waiting is a weary game - but Nelson played it too!
And be it late or be it soon, such work is yet to do
Your starry namesake never saw who walked the midnight sky
(Old bold
Orion
-
Fighting old
Orion
!)
In the great old years gone by.

And be the game a waiting game we'll play it with the best;
Or be the game a watching game we'll watch and never rest;
But the fighting game it pays for all when the guns begin to play
(Ah, bold
Orion
-
Fighting old
Orion
!)
As you heard 'em yesterday!)


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010



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